“And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…”

Hebrews 12: 1b-2a

I ran today. That is not unusual. Neither is the fact that God speaks to me while I exercise (it is one of the few quiet moments I get in a day). However, what is unusual is that I felt the need to come and write down these thoughts right away. Perhaps you need to hear this too?

I have exercised my entire life. I love to move. I do not always love exercising, especially running, but I love how I feel when I keep my body active. As a child, I loved to push myself constantly further, pushing the limits of what my body could do. Could I jump higher? Could I run faster? Could I hit the ball harder? I thrived on challenge. However, as an adult, I have established a “routine”, or mindless activity that has worked in the past so I continue going through the motions. I still run, but I just plod along, lost in my thoughts. I do exercises that require me to jump or move, but I rarely push myself.

Unfortunately, my time on earth, doing things for God can be like this too. I do the good things that worked in the past, but I do them out of habit, rarely examining to see if I am pushing myself. I start to wonder why I am not seeing any growth, or worse, why I am drifting away from God. Maybe you feel this way too?

As I was running today, I felt God telling me to pick my legs up more, move my arms with more intention and focus on my run. So, I did. A miraculous thing happened. I not only started moving faster, an nice thing when running, but my run was working more muscles than it typically did. Even more miraculous, I ran farther today than I have in more than two years! I felt strong. I felt motivated. I felt challenged!

God started whispering this week’s memory verse as I was running. Run with endurance the race that is set before you. I started to think about what that meant. I cannot run with endurance by shuffling along, doing what could barely be classified as a run. I must push myself, using all the muscles needed, challenging my body, so that I may be prepared for the long, arduous race called life. Endurance is not built coasting through following the same routine, but through trials, challenges, and pushing ourselves to be the best version of ourselves.

The spiritual connections are endless, but remember this. Christ said in Matthew 18:3: “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Children embrace the challenge with exuberance. They push themselves to bigger and better things. Adults thrive on routine. We must turn from that and embrace God throughout our life. We must push to achieve more and receive more of God, not do what we have always done.

Are you running your race with endurance?