For more than a year now, I have been committed to running consistently. Since early spring, I have had a running buddy who has become a dear friend. What used to be a labor-intensive chore to talk myself into walking out the door, is now something that I eagerly anticipate. There is a dramatic difference between having to tackle the miles alone, verses having a friend to run beside, encouraging each other and striving together to accomplish whatever goal we have set for ourselves.
Our walk with Christ is no different. If we try and go it alone, we can be committed, yet it is far easier to stay on track if we are invested in a body of believers. We need others who are pursuing the same path to walk beside us and encourage us, just as we need to be useful in building up others in the body of Christ.
An additional parallel between running and our walk with Christ has to do with pain. When running, there are different types of pain. Some pain is good, as it is simply the body working harder than it is used to, and strength is on the rise. There is other pain that is the body’s warning of injury, that deems rest and recovery a necessity. With Christ, we do not have any guarantees to be free of pain, in fact, we are certain to face trials at times. However, in Him, we are provided what we need to either press through the pain, or to pause, rest and recover, so that we may continue in the direction He has called us to go.
He calls us to run;
His path to take,
and work to be done.
Though we’re each called,
to run our own race;
He grants people,
to help set the pace.
Each step we take,
He remains with us;
our strength and help,
precious Lord, Jesus.
Even through pain,
His presence remains;
power when weak,
hope that shall sustain.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. – (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. – (2 Corinthians 13:11)
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. – (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to not only commit ourselves to You, but to be invested in Your body. Thank You that You meet us as we move, and You grant us what we need to continue in the direction You are calling us to go. Thank You that even in the places of pressure or pain, You provide Your strength, help and rest, so that we may continue as You are asking. Forgive us for our fearfulness and our lack of perseverance in the press of pain, and teach us to cling to You so that we will rely on Your strength rather than our own. Lead us to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, as they recognize the magnitude of Your majesty. Be exalted O God, as we spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up in our meeting together. Amen.
The joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10