1 Corinthians 9:24-25 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (NIV)
Running For The Prize!
I put on the shoes that made me want to run, drove to the park, and put in my ear buds. Before I realized it, I was running like a crazy woman; I’m talkin’ about arms flailing, thighs chaffing, and breathing so hard I sounded like an oncoming freight train! What in the world would make a person do such a thing called running? Let me think. . . Uh, I love torture! Clearly exercise is not fun for me but it has become the highlight of my day. Exercise is necessary for several reasons, health being the obvious one, but stress reduction and mental clarity are definitely huge benefits for me too. What I really love is the release of endorphins that push me to keep going! I’m not in it to score points but I am in it to win the prize.
The prize? it isn’t a medal at the end of my pitiful running session, it’s certainly not a finish line with a ribbon or a cheering crowd. The prize I earn is the opportunity to fellowship with my Father. Sometimes that involves worship music, sometimes my favorite teacher or the straight up pure Word. I'm telling you, the Word of God fuels my fire like none other; far more than my favorite coffee!
The track has become a place of solace and a place of rejoicing for me. Many tears have been shed on that track and many battles won right there. When it seems like the world is about to suffocate me the most empowering thing I can do is lace up my shoes and go.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul gives us specific instructions:
1-Run the race. In order to run in a race, we must first prepare to run! Don’t show up wearing flip flops and beach attire to run or you will feel some pain. Focus! put one foot in front of the other, inhale/exhale, puke if you must, but do not stop! RUN. By implementing this truth into our spiritual life our eyes will be fixed on the face of Jesus Christ! He is our great encourager, He keeps us in the race!
2-Take the prize. While I am running for the purpose of health, the prize I'm gaining is the rich, inspiring, Living Word of God and self discipline. His Truth keeps me coming back for more! It is changing my life. In Him we win!
Should you happen to see me "running" with my arms flapping around like a crazy woman or appearing to talk to myself, don’t flip out on me, I just might be having a worship service.
Whether you are a runner or not, we're all running so why not run for THE prize!
*photo: Greensboro Color Run 2013