Saturday, May 7, 2011

Running For God

To tag off that last post, yesterday I found an article that was super convicting! It really resonated with me because as a collegiate cross country and track and field runner, I devote many hours to my training in order to reach my full potential. God's given me talent to run, I want to use that as an act of worship and to further His Kingdom. I train hard because I want to know how much potential God has put in me. Every person has a certain amount of God given talent they are born with. I know that with my talent, I'll never race in the Olympics or be good enough to be a professional runner, but I want to know how far I can push myself. Whether that be 31:00 for 10k, 30:00 or 29:00, on God knows and the only way I'll ever find out is by being disciplined in my training, pushing myself to see what my performance limit really is.

In the same way, Christians should be striving to be the best disciple they can be too. This article is really sweet, and makes so much sense to me now! A year ago, I don't think I would've understood it all, but Christ wants each and everyone of us to reach our full potential for His Kingdom as well.

2 Corinthians 9:24
24 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. 26

"Are you an Elite Christian"
by Gary Mimbs

I am excited about all of the emphasis that is being put on the "Run for God" program. What a great concept to combine the love of running with the application to the spiritual journey.

I recently had the opportunity to go and watch my youngest son run in a 5k race in Brunswick. The race was up and over the huge bridge that spans the waterway leading from Brunswick into Jekyll Island and then back across it again into Brunswick.

My son isn't a runner he just wanted to have fun doing it and be able to say that he had run across the bridge. There were almost 2,000 people who ran/jogged/walked in the event. I watched in amazement as people of all ages, sizes, shapes and color enjoyed (for the most part) this event. The young man who actually won the competition part of the race was a professional runner from Kenya but who now lives in Kennesaw. He ran this course around 14 minutes 40 seconds. I was standing near him when a member of the media interviewed him after the race. He told the reporter that when he picked up his race packet he had slapped his chest twice and announced that he was "an elite athlete" who had come to win!

This young man wasn't bragging but with a few words he was announcing with confidence that he had come to win the prize money. He wasn't there to fool around or take the race lightly. He was saying that he had disciplined himself and trained in such a way that his only goal and focus was to cross the finish line first. And he did what he set out to do. There were a lot of people there that day who would call themselves runners but I wondered how many had the determination that this young man exuded?

I started thinking about how many people who call themselves Christians have the determination and discipline to be called an "elite Christian." By that term I don't mean one who is prideful or thinks that they are better than anyone else. I mean a Christian who has set their goals on being the best ambassador for Jesus that they can - one whose very life is focused not on themselves but on the furtherance of the cause of the kingdom of God. The Bible says for us to "Do all that we do as unto the Lord."

No doubt that this young man has God-given ability but he had also trained for many hours and denied himself of junk food and other pleasures to be an "elite athlete." Jesus said to his followers that to follow him we must, "Deny ourselves and take up his cross." In other words, there is a price to pay if you want to be more than just a surface level, casual Christian.

But the reward is so much better than we can imagine. For every moment that you spend with Jesus in his word is a million times better than the things that this world has to offer.

We are all running the race of life together. Some are on the road to heaven and some are not. Those on the road to heaven are not competing against one another but our goal is to help those that are going the wrong way get pointed toward heaven.

Are you an elite Christian doing all that you can to help others cross the finish line into heaven? Are you willing to discipline yourself and deny yourself so that others can make it into the kingdom of God?

If not - why not?

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