The following is an excerpt from the book, Real Life Moments, by J. Mark Fox, C4FIC Board member.
“… let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
A few years ago, my son Micah ran in “The Crim,” a 10-mile road race in beautiful downtown Flint, Michigan, that is held every August.
The Crim is listed as one of the top 100 national races in the National Road Race Encyclopedia, mainly because it hosts a world-class field of runners every year.
The Kenyans usually send a strong team, and this year was no different. Eight of the top 10 finishers were from Kenya, but this year’s winner was a Tanzanian, whose time was 47:46.
That’s not too slack for 10 miles. Micah’s time was just a tad slower. But he finished, and that was his goal.
When Micah told us about his experience, one detail stood out. He said that along the course, which winds through the city of Flint, there were people everywhere, offering something to the runners as they passed. Water. Gatorade, all flavors.
There were sprinklers set up that the competitors could run through and cool off a bit. There were towels for wiping the sweat. All of this was welcome on a day so hot and humid.
There were also stations set up that offered beer to the runners. Or, Krispy Kreme doughnuts!
I did a double-take when Micah told me this. Why would someone running a 10-mile race even think about drinking a beer or slamming down a doughnut or two along the way? Why would anyone even offer such a thing to runners?
These competitors had been training for months, saying “no” to anything that would slow them down a fraction of a second. They had been disciplining their bodies, training hard, muscles and lungs burning, so that on race day they could … eat a doughnut?
It made no sense. But when Micah explained the party atmosphere, the number of people who were “in the race” but not really competing to win, I understood.
It is the same way in the race of faith. There are some running the race of life with purpose and resolve, but many more who are cruising, skipping, or limping along. For either runner, there are many distractions along the way, many “offers” that will slow the steps, many temptations that will taste so good and right for a moment, but will bring a runner down to defeat at the end.
How many of my friends in the ministry have stumbled into sexual sin because they took their eyes off the goal just for a second? They were running along just fine, keeping in step with what the Lord had called them to and equipped them for, but then it happened. Just ahead, a table was set with everything they had a taste for but had said no to all their lives.
The thought came in a flash. “Hey, slow down a little and enjoy yourself. After all, you have earned it. You have worked hard, kept your nose clean all these miles. What will it hurt to take one little sip of pleasure. Everybody else is stopping, aren’t they?”
But for the grace of God, there go I. That’s why I keep reminding myself of the goal and the prize and the One who ran the race before me.
Prayer: “Lord, show me those little compromises I have taken that now hang on me like weights. Help me to be free to run Your race!”
Action: Throw off the weights the Lord shows you; write down the date that He showed you and what exactly each ‘weight’ is, and commit to keeping those weights off, by His grace!