I used to be a runner.
There are 80 year olds running marathons, but my body told me it was time to walk rather than run. Truthfully, my pride was hurt. Running is so much cooler and challenging. I like challenges, most days.
But though I no longer run, I remember the analogies between running and faith I formed in my mind as my feet hit the pavement one plod at a time. Many mornings I wanted to quit after the second block, but by the first mile, I felt better. I picked up speed; my breathing found rhythm, and I was so glad I didn’t quit. I persevered.
…and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…” ~Hebrews 12:1-2
There were days when the run was easy and days when the same run down the very same streets and up the very same hill was exhausting. Despite the “not so good days” I never regretted a run. And I know, somehow, I just know that I will never regret faith in Jesus nor this marathon I entered with Him.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”
During my first 5-K, I noticed an ancient lady running the race. She was a white haired bag of bones pacing herself slowly down the road. I confess that I shot a bratty prayer up to God telling Him that I would quit running if that ancient lady finished the race before me.
I was ahead of her the entire time until I turned down the final stretch toward the cheering crowd at the end. I took my eyes off my feet and lifted my face to see my nemesis clicking away right. in. front. of. me. Yes, that wise ancient runner who’d run many races before me knew how to pace the race, and she finished seconds before my Nikes crossed that line.
Despite my prior “threat” to God–who probably didn’t care if I quit running, but who did care about my heart, I didn’t quit. Rather, I was just happy to cross that line.
It no longer mattered who finished in front of me.[tweetability]When we cross into heaven all the comparisons we’ve made in our lives will just fade away in the Presence of the one who is the whole reason we have a finish line.[/tweetability]He is:
“…the author and perfecter of our faith.”
The ancient word that was translated as “perfecter” in the NIV is the Greek word, Teleitotes. It means “completer.” (Key-Word, NIV)[tweetability]Jesus gave breath to this thing called faith. He birthed the story, and then He put it to the test Himself, completing it…giving it an ending.[/tweetability]
The commentary from my Key-Word Study Bible explains,
“Jesus is presented as the supreme model of this way of life (way of faith). Where others failed, He succeeded. By His unerring life of faith, Jesus made the way to God for those who follow Him.”
Jesus is the completer of “the faith”–not just our faith.
“…who for the joy set before Him endured the cross.”
What’s a cross?
Pain? Suffering? Humility?
I see the cross as…
Run my friends. Don’t keep your eyes on the finish line or a fellow believer–who you will ultimately compare yourself to and become discouraged. Keep your eyes on Jesus.
And run with your purpose.
To. the. end.
Finding Purpose Focused on Jesus,
This post first appeared as How to Run This Life Race Without Comparing Yourself to Others.