“After we solidify our position for the playoffs, I am confident that our team will make a deep “run” in the playoffs” . . . this was a quote I overheard one of our fans say about our local high school football team. I could get excited about that as the playoffs are a great time for not only a team, players and coaches but also a great experience for the school and community as well.
That word “RUN” stuck in my mind as I thought about that statement. I thought about how that word is used a lot in athletics and competition. It brought back memories of my senior year in high school while playing basketball and our team was in position to win the District Championship. Back in those days the team that won the District Championship was the only team in that District that advanced to the UIL playoffs in Texas. Our team had to win this game or we would end up in a playoff with another team in our district. In this particular game the Hooks team (my team) trailed the Linden-Kildare Tigers 62-44 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Needless to say . . . we needed to make a great “RUN” in the 4th quarter to win that game. After a good attitude adjustment challenge by a great coach, our team put together such a “RUN” and we won the game 78-77 and advanced into the playoffs.
That word “RUN” also reminded me of a great verse in the Bible that has always been a favorite verse of mine. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way to get the prize!” (1 Corinthians 9:24) The context of this verse is to teach/remind us as believers that we must train our spiritual lives to be at our best so we can be effective as witnesses for our Lord, Jesus Christ. That verse carried me over to Hebrews 12:1 which reads “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
As I looked at Hebrews Chapter 12 it was dotted with the following words that I have heard all my life while involved in sports and athletics . . . endure hardship, discipline, painful, train, strengthen, paths for your feet, effort, endured much opposition, do not grow weary, do not lose heart. Don’t you find life that way? It can be a struggle sometimes can’t it? It is a battle! As I continued my study of the word “RUN” in the scriptures I found 65 different references to the word “RUN”. Just as we use the word “RUN” many, many different ways in our athletic/sports world, God also uses it in His Word to coach/train us to be Champions.
In athletic competition, coaches “mark out a path” for his/her players. They train and develop them instilling discipline, painful hardships, situations to keep them from growing weary, and coaching them to not lose heart. To prepare us for the battle against an enemy we do not always see, our Master Coach also does that for us in our spiritual lives as well.
How are you running? Are you running with perseverance the race marked out for you? This question brought back a painful reminder of a seven year period of my life when I was doing everything but “running the race the Lord had marked out for me”! However, it brought back great memories after I allowed God to change my direction at the end of that seven year period. In fact a song written by Phillips, Craig, and Dean called “When God Ran” really sums up that event in my life.
So whether you are competing in sports or life itself . . . RUN with perseverance the race marked out for you! HE does a great job equipping you for both of those races! Seek Him and follow the path HE has marked out for you !