Running Well: Running the race marked out for YOU.
“…let us run with endurance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b
I think one of the tensions we often face as believers is the temptation to compare our spiritual races with others. While God has marked out one, clear path of salvation for everyone to run by faith, we each have our own unique relationships with Christ. Our races are greatly impacted by other runners but not dependent on others to run our best race.
What we are all equipped with to run well:
- The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is given to fuel us to endure. Our flesh can be defeated to run well. Romans 8:11-13
- Each of us receive the Holy Spirit when we confess and believe the gospel message of His death, burial, and resurrection. Ephesians 1:13
- A gift to be used for the purpose of glorifying God and ministering to the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:4-7
- Scripture to completely furnish us for all good works and be transformed into His character and likeness. 2 Timothy 3:16
- We all win the same prize of eternal inheritance. There is security in Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:14
How do our races differ from one another:
- We all come to Jesus at different times and through different seasons of life. Mark 1:15
- We all have different gifts and abilities. Romans 12:3-8
- He calls us by name. We are each unique masterpieces, knit uniquely in the womb, but known since the foundations of the world. John 10:3-4 and Ephesians 2:10
- We are responsible for fighting and training for the race. Some are more diligent than others and the fruit of it shows. There will be some that never stop drinking milk and move to meat. God doesn’t instantaneously fill us up with all wisdom and knowledge. Through prayer, study, and practicing the things we learn in Scripture, we grow in understanding and love. I Timothy 6:12, I Peter 2:2, Philippians 1:9-11and 2 Peter 3:18
- There will be different rewards for the works done in our bodies. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 and I Corinthians 3:8-15
- Everyone battles different sins and have to fight different battles with the flesh. James 1:14 and Romans 3:23
- Our perspectives on life due to environment and place in the world will inform us differently. We have the same Spirit but not the same opinions on gray areas of life or cultural experiences. Romans 14 and Acts 9
God commands us not to compare ourselves with others.
Galatians 1:10, ESV For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 6:4-5, ESV But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load.
We need running partners, but we have to be careful not to compare our relationships as racers. God works in each of us in a personal way. He may ask you to lay something down in obedience that He never asks of someone else. He has each of our good in mind. Our lessons will be unique to our individual personalities. We can learn from other racers and be encouraged by their faithful endurance. We can even help each other watch for pitfalls and lovingly lead one another back on the narrow path. But the command in Philippians 2:12-18 to work out our salvation is “a directive to let the new birth in Christ translate into actions.” (belief.net) For some, they will work out more and bear greater fruit for God’s kingdom.
Running is hard, but Paul saw it as a type of offering to God for His saving grace in his life. He is calling us to selflessly serve Him also. God will use us to reach different people in different places. Our finish line is the same, a clear path is marked out for us, but how long it will take us, where the journey will place us, and what efforts we exert are individually unique to each one of us.
Be the best version of YOU that God created YOU to be! Use your God ordained gifting to help others run well. Keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith, and not on other runners. He is the one waiting to welcome you across the finish line into His presence. Live each day in a way that puts your faith into action.
Run with freedom toward the race we are guaranteed to win; when we run out of love for all He has done for us, we will persevere through the harsh realities of the race.