Tag Archives: run

Run with Purpose

Running a race is one thing; winning a race is another. Paul told us to “run to win” (v. 24). If we look at our Christian walk (or run if you will) as a journey with an eternal prize, we can understand it is not some short race in the backyard with a younger or older sibling. Rather this race is to the end, which really is not the end but an eternal prize, eternal life with God.

Paul held that we should “run with purpose in every step.” Every single step. Runners prepare for their big runs. I have never heard of a person one day waking up and saying, “Hey, I’m going to run a 4k today.” I have family members who run. They train. They run daily. They purchase particular sneakers. They register for the race. They plan. Every step is in place. They don’t just show up on race day—they begin the journey early on and the culmination is race day when they are crossing the finish line. Everything before they reach the finish line was another step they took to get there.

When Paul tells everyone to run with purpose, he wants us to understand that we have to have our eyes on Christ and we have to be intentional with each step of our lives. This requires preparation. This requires dedication. So how do we prepare for each step? How do we prepare for each day? Dig into God’s Word daily. READ! Get a daily devotional and be sure to read it as well. Get involved with a Bible Study Group. PRAY! Connect with the One who will provide the strength you need to finish the race. WORSHIP! Take time to praise Him. You were meant to worship. Come on now – run with purpose.

“So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26 [NLT]

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Keep Running

Not long ago, a professor and I were having a discussion about having confidence in the Lord rather than in ourselves. We then moved our thoughts to competitions. Within the discussion, the professor challenged me with 1 Corinthians 9:24, where Paul wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win (NASB). This passage is telling us that running is not the same as winning. We need to win the race. We need to finish the race to win. However, it is not a race where there is only one winner. We each can receive our crowns if we finish the race. It is all about running the race to the finish line. As 2 Timothy 4:7 states, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith(ESV). At the end of the race, it’s all about keeping the faith; it’s all about trusting in God to the finish.

The big problem that we have with running our own race is that which deters us and moves us away from our walk with Christ. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1 NIV). This passage warns us that there are things that will hinder us in this race. In John Bunyan’s book, “The Pilgrim’s Progress,” this man name Christian is on his journey to salvation and the Celestial City, only to meet up with a wide array of people who tell him to turn around or try to give him another way to travel. Each person tries to hinder his race, some more purposeful than others. Paul says this in Galatians, “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” (5:7 NIV).

You see, this race to the finish is not a race where we are competing against others. We are competing against ourselves and our own sin nature. We are to be running forward, trusting God, running in the way of Christ, obeying the Truth. There are many runners on the course with us, some running right alongside us, others trying to get us to turn around, others falling asleep on the course, and others trying to get us to attempt taking a “short cut” which really isn’t a short cut to the finish line, but a derailment. Then there are those runners who make it a competition in hopes of getting a better position in heaven or to draw attention to themselves here on earth, and these runners have somewhat derailed themselves too.

Philippians 2:6 of the NLT says, Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.” Paul encourages us to follow the Word of God, to run the race that is set before us as Christ ran the race, following the Word of God. So keep running. Keep following the course set before us. Many will try to hinder us whether purposely or not, but if we cling to the Word of God and trust in Him who is faithful, we will have victory.

Run First, Pray Later

The story of Jonah and the big fish is surely told so very often that it has lost its kick for some people. We like to shake our heads at Jonah, and some people even chuckle at his attempt to run from God. The sad thing is that we are all like Jonah at some point in our lives for we all have moments when we try the “run first and pray later.” Who has not liked what God was asking and held off and did something else? Who thought their way was better than God’s way? Who was directed to do something, but waited to do it or never did it at all? Who does not even listen to God at all to know the plan He has for them?

In Jonah 2, the first verse says, “Then Jonah prayed.” He was already inside the fish. THEN he prayed. See he ran from God, took off in a boat, and the boat was going all over the place in the water. He could have prayed then. I wonder if he foolishly thought perhaps that he could still make it away. He was not praying, and yet the people on board feared they would sink to their doom. The waters had to be rough and showed no sign of letting up, but Jonah went to sleep.

Now when the people tossed Jonah overboard and he is swallowed, perhaps then it was a reality check. I guess I’m not able to hide from God. Perhaps he recognized that there was no hope to get away now. Since there is no hope for him to do something on his own, for him to get away, for his plan to work— THEN he prayed. He got himself into trouble, THEN he prayed. He disobeyed, THEN he prayed.

We run first and then pray later too often. We make our decisions without asking God for His will. We think that by chance we will be able to do something on our own. We hope that our way will work out. When we realize we need God, when things are falling apart, when we do not have everything in place– then we want God to help. It is part of our human nature. We sadly think we know best. For some reason, we think that we have a better plan.

Disobedience is something we all partake in, but there’s hope. As Jonah noted in verse 2:2, God heard him and answered. He goes even further than simply listening, and saves Jonah from the mess he got himself into from not following Him in the first place. He forgives him and helps rescue him so that Jonah can do what he was initially supposed to do.

Life is filled with decisions. We can chose to run first and pray later, or we can decide to pray first so there is no need to run. I do not know your life story, but I know that my own story gives me example after example of the times when I went out for a run, only to come back to pray later. Without God, there is no satisfaction in life. He knows our needs; He has designed our purpose. With praying first and seeking His will, there is no need for our legs to run. Instead, I find that when we do this, instead of our legs getting the work, we are lifting our voices in praise. His plan is so good. He is so good.

“But Samuel replied: ‘Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’”
– 1 Samuel 15:22 [NIV]

A Running Bird

Did you ever ask yourself why a bird runs when it could fly?

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
– Isaiah 41:10 [ESV]