Stephen and I signed up to run the Run to the Ascent 5k, a race our church sponsored to raise funds to help prevent suicides in the local schools. Even though he had just moved to Colorado, Stephen was able to place fifth overall in the race—a remarkable achievement given the high elevation of Monument, Colorado against 360 other competitors.
Most of my life I have enjoyed running races. And while gravity gets stronger as I get older (not something we were taught in physics), for the most part, running is still somewhat fun. After running the first half mile of the Ascent downhill we had to run uphill at a challenging grade for over a mile. No matter how hard I wanted to keep running, I could not. I had to walk. It was a deflating feeling, especially as young children, women, and older men jogged past me. It did not matter that I would pass some of them later on more favorable terrain, the act of walking mentally ruined the race for me.
1 Corinthians 9:24—Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize.
When Paul wrote the verse above to the Corinthians, in context he wanted his readers to understand the importance of personal discipline. Not everyone can win the race. But what is important is that we run in such a way as to be able to win—in essence, we stay disciplined so that we can compete well.
After reflecting on my perceived poor performance several thoughts came to mind. Most of the runners (to include Stephen) walked at some point on the hill—they simply either had to, like me, or they were wisely conserving energy. What was important was that all of us got over the hill. Second, had I not walked I probably would have passed out from exhaustion. Sometimes in life it is more important to pace ourselves rather than over exert and then be unable to complete the course. Third, I’m out of shape—if I worked out more consistently, I would have fared better. Fourth, I’m reminded that life is a race. My goal remains to finish well before the eyes of my Father in heaven—and that demands vigilant, faithful discipline.
Do you beat yourself up sometimes because you are walking when you would rather be running? Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, the goal is to compete and that requires discipline combined with wisdom. There will be times in life when walking is preferable to running. So, enjoy the journey. Run. Rest. Reflect. Run. What is most important is that you keep moving towards the prize of living well in obedience to the world’s best runner—Jesus!
When I practice discipline in my life, everything else starts to fall into place. I make better choices. I respond more appropriately when I am bombarded by events out of my control. It takes discipline for me to stay healthy, respect and care for others, prioritize my time, preserve my character, and maintain my integrity.—Rebecca Halstead in 24/7 The First Person You Must Lead Is You
©2017 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)