Friday, September 2, 2011

Part 1 of:

Let Us Run!

By: Bethany Rose S. | Part 1

I love running.  I always have.  I always will.  There is something about the thrill of being able to run into the wind; air whistling by your ears; feet seeming to hardly touch the ground; power surging through your body; the wind rushing into your face…  This experience is so wonderful!  It is exhilarating, exciting, and electrifying. 
But running is not always easy.  Sometimes it is hard; very hard.  There are times when you feel like giving up.  Your temples are pounding; your legs beg to rest; your heart feels like it will burst if you don’t stop; your chest is heaving; all you want to do is stop, throw your self on the ground, and let your breath come back… but in a race, is this possible?  Oh yes, it’s possible, but is it right?
We are engaged in a spiritual race.  A race that is not optional, but required.  If we are Christians, then we are running to God.  We know that this race (our lives) are but a vapor and soon to end.  But it is far from easy!  Hebrews 12:1a-2 says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  This verse tells us that in this race, we need to get rid of the cares of this world, our sin, and any other thing that would prohibit us from running our best, in order to finish this race well.  But how do we do that?  We need to overcome our flesh with the Spirit.

Cares Of This World
Since we all have a sin nature, our flesh is constantly drawn to the things of this world.  It is so easy to focus on something else other than the Lord.  Even though we may think that we are doing no harm, being infested with the cares of this world makes us bogged down.  We need to know that we “are not of the world” (John 15:19) and therefore, we should keep away from its cares. I remember one time, while playing one of our favorite running games, that I got tagged.  As it turned out, I only had three chances to get away… but the problem was, I was wearing flip-flops!  I tried to get away once—but was tagged.  I tried to get away twice, this time by kicking off my flips-flops—but was tagged again because I had to run over our gravel driveway and my pace slowed considerably!  The third time I got away, but only by a hair.  I tell you, if I had not been wearing those flip-flops probably none of that would have happened in the first place!  But I was weighted down with shoes that didn’t help me out at all.  Just as I will never wear flip-flops in a game like that again, so should we never let this world weigh us down as well.  Overcoming the urge to “fit in” with the world is something every Christian needs to do. 

As Christians, it is so easy to fall into the sin of pride.  It is very easy to look at other people and even other Christians and think, “Oh I’m so much better than that!  I’m a much better Christian that them!”  As it turns out, these thoughts are just like the prayer of the Pharisee.  In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable about two men who go to the temple to pray.  One is a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  When the Pharisee prays, he says, “Oh God, I thank you that I’m not like other men.  I’m not unjust, I’m not an adulterer, and I am certainly not like that tax collector!  Oh, and I fast twice a week and I give tithes of everything I own.”  But the tax collector did not even life up eyes as he cried out to God saying, “God, have mercy on me; I’m a sinner!”  Jesus said that this man was justified rather than the other.  Because, “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”  Luke 18:14b.  As we run to Jesus, we need to overcome the pride in our lives.  Everyone has it!  It’s no secret!  We need to “in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”  (Philippians 2:3b)  Preferring others better than ourselves is one of the best ways to take our eyes off our own “goodness”.  We need to examine ourselves to find out where we are puffed-up.  Cry out to God for the humility of Moses!  Pride is an awful sin.  It is what caused Satan to think himself better than God, it is what made Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit, and it is what sends us to hell. 
Let us wipe every thought of self-righteousness from our minds.  Pride hinders us in this race.  We need to be looking to Jesus instead of looking at others.  I remember one time when I was running a race at a homeschool event; it was just me and one other girl doing a 50 yard dash.  I lost this race because I peeked over my shoulder to see how close the other girl was.  This slowed me down and she ended up crossing the finish line first!  Peeking at others will slow us down in the Spiritual Race.

Have you ever tried running into a fierce and strong wind?  One time our family was at the beach with some friends.  When we went out for a walk that night, we were all surprised to see how hard the wind was blowing!  It was blowing so hard that we could lean into it without falling over!  Of course this called for some experimenting, so we tried running into the wind.  That was really hard!  Now episodes like this, remind me of how we can run into hardship.  Hardships can be anything: your goat gets sick and you have to check her three times in the middle of the night; a snowstorm blows in and you are stuck without electricity… the list is endless.  To us, it may seem like life would be so much better for us if it weren’t for these problems.  But then, is that right?  Truth to be told, no, we need these hardships.  Tough problems are what strengthen us and condition us to be good runners for Jesus.  Instead of wishing that we didn’t have to go through this incident, we should face it and overcome it by the power of God!  Pastor Chuck Smith said, “Trials are either going to make you bitter or better.” 

There will be times in our lives when we feel like giving up.  Maybe we’ve done the wrong deed, said the wrong word, or thought the wrong thought.  Whatever it is, we are a fallen runner; an imperfect person sinning again.  When we are laying on the ground in embarrassment thinking, “How come I always end up here?!  Will I ever be able to make it to Jesus without these humiliating falls?!” we need to remember that we are sinners.  We will make mistakes.  But we have to overcome these errors with God’s strength.  We need to ask Him for the power to do that which is right.  When do fall, we have to get back up.  Laying in self-pity and “I’ll never do it right!” attitudes will not help us.  We can not give up!  We have to try harder next time.  Everyone is going to fall.  But everyone needs to get back up.  During one of our favorite running games, my sister started chasing me.  Although I almost got away, my foot slipped on the wet cement.  I fell really hard, got pretty hurt, and felt totally defeated.  I knew I could have outrun her but of course I had to fall right when I shouldn’t have!!!  I kind of gave up because I knew I couldn’t get back up and start running since I hit my knee really badly.  So while I rolled around in pain, holding my bloody knee I yelled, “Oh whatever!  Just tag me!  Just tag me!”  Let us never give up in the Spiritual Race!  When we fall down, get back up!

Bethany is 17 years old she loves spending time with her family and playing violin.  This year she enjoyed competing for the first time in a Scottish Fiddle Competition.

Check back for Part 2!!

This article was orinagally published in Virtuous Women Magazine
Volume 7, Issue 2.
© 2011 by The Virtuous Women Magazine


Gabrielle Hellwig said...

Wow, great article, Bethany! I look forward to reading the second part!

I've given y'all a blog award here at my blog:

Do check it out if you get a chance!

Ebenezer Forest Farm said...

Thank you, Gabrielle! I'm glad you enjoyed it! Be sure to read part 2 :)...