Happy birthday number nine. A pretty significant year since it is your last year of single digits. Nona and I enjoyed celebrating with you last week ahead of your birthday. You are an outstanding young man and we love watching you grow up.
It was really fun competing with you in your first ever 5K road race. I use that term loosely because you were very gracious to let me stay up with you.
There are a lot of parallels to running a race and our journey through the Christian life. The Apostle Paul points this out in several places:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)
…the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Here are just a few parallels that you might ponder as you pursue following Jesus…
- The Christian race is a marathon not a sprint – it is a lifelong pursuit that requires “a long obedience in the same direction.”
- A diligent pursuit of Christ requires discipline and rigorous training – Just as a championship runner trains daily so following Christ demands the daily disciplines of time in the Word and prayer to build spiritual muscle.
- Following Jesus wholeheartedly means we often have to say “No” – Titus 2:11-13 puts it this way, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…”
- The Christian race is difficult – It is definitely not for wimps. Those who choose to follow Jesus are promised that they will encounter hardship and persecution and suffering.
- The Christian race is worth pursuing – Yes the race is difficult, but the reward is great for those who faithfully finish.
Thanks for pushing me this past weekend to run when I did not feel like running. There will be many times in your pursuit of Christ when you will not feel like running. Perhaps I will be be able to encourage you to keep going when you don’t feel like it.
Never forget that you are very loved,