I have spent a good portion of my life running in the wrong direction.
I realized I have been running from things when it would have been better to be running toward things. Running from my past instead of toward my future. Running from hurt instead of toward love. Running from sin instead of toward grace.
There are many problems in this, but one of the biggest is when we are running from something, that is what we are focusing on. I am so busy looking over my shoulder, not looking where I am going, that I might just end up anywhere! And probably not somewhere I had thought I would end up.
Another big problem is that what we look at and focus on, we become. If I am constantly looking over my shoulder at my past, hurt and sin, I might continue to look like them. I would much rather turn my eyes toward my future that God has planned for me, the love He has for me, the grace He extends to me.
Someone running away from something is usually panting in fear, out of breath, out of shape because they haven’t planned on running, and are wearing out from the work it takes. In contrast, a person choosing the direction or goal they are running toward has usually taken the time to prepare. They have the correct footwear, they have prepared their body physically. They have prepared their mind. They have prepared their will by determination and self-discipline. This person is in shape and focused on a target.
Paul, in the Bible, knew all about this kind of running. He said he had disciplined his body in order to run the kind of race Jesus had called him to. He knew that he couldn’t look back at what he had been longer than was necessary to be completely repentant and grateful. After that it was time to press on to the prize that was before him: life in Christ.
This is the kind of running that I want to do. I want to train myself so that I keep spiritually and mentally fit. I don’t want to look behind me or run aimlessly. Most of all I want to run with joy toward the prize of a life with Jesus!
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way as to take the prize. Everyone who competes in the games trains with strict discipline. They do it for a crown that is perishable, but we do it for a crown that is imperishable. Therefore I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight like I am beating the air. No, I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:24-27