Running On A Different Path

February 23, 2016

I love to run. I love the feeling of fresh air filling my lungs as my heart rate quickens and my strides cover long distances across dirt, grass, pavement or gravel. For me, running is an exhilarating, empowering and freeing feeling. It’s not that I’m running from anything in particular, but I am always running towards something. I don’t always see my end goal, but I know it’s there and the feeling I experience when I reach that end point is always worth the journey.

In my walk with Jesus Christ, sometimes the journey He brings me on is unclear, sometimes the roads are not well-paved but I know the end is well worth the effort it takes to get there.  Though, I do wish that I was in better shape. I’m not talking about joining CrossFit or signing up to be berated by a new personal trainer. The shaping that I’m in need of is one where I need to quiet my heart and mind to experience Christ’s coaching in my life. But this type of change doesn’t depend on my striving efforts to become better, which I tend to forget quite often (thankfully, God gently reminds me of this time and time again). In order for me to get in Christ-shape, I need to do the very opposite of striving. This calls for an act of surrender.

Paul’s prayer for the early church was to practice this very same act of surrender, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship” (Romans 12.1).

Sometimes I think it would be easier to have a checklist to accomplish so that I may become more Christlike. I’m good at checklists! But I know that’s a prideful thought. If God provided us with checklists, becoming Christlike would be in my control, not His.

But this is not something to get frustrated about. No, this is good news!  Because I am a failure; no matter how hard I try to be perfect, I never will be. But Christ, He is the very picture of perfection to whom I need to look to at all times. Yes, this is good news indeed!

I really love to pull on my Nike’s and hit the trails for a good long run, but what I find even more fulfilling is a very different sort of run. Finding true joy and exhilaration is running into the arms of Christ, experiencing His full presence and purpose in my life. But in order to fully experience this, I need to surrender to Him.

I still often fall down on the journey, but that’s ok, because I know that God has promised to be there with me every step of the way. His glory is made perfect in my weaknesses.

“One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).