Friday, May 15, 2009

Running to Win (Part One)

May 15 - by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run,

but only one receives the prize?

Run in such a way that you may win.

I had lunch once with a serious runner, an ultra-marathoner. Max Hooper has a unique will to win. After surgery on both knees, Max was told he would never run again. Three months later he ran a 2:47 marathon and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

But Max's ultimate race was completed years earlier in some of the most hostile environments our planet could offer a runner. The start: Badwater, California, in the oven of Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level, the lowest point in the United States. The finish: the refrigerated summit of Mount Whitney at 14,494 feet, the highest altitude in the contiguous United States. Total distance: 146 miles.

Max and a marine buddy completed the task in 63 hours, 12 minutes. Max wore out three pairs of running shoes and his feet swelled two sizes by the time he reached the summit.

You and I run in a similar race. It's a race that God has set before each of us, and it takes place on a course of extremes. Life is a race for every Christian. It is a race you and I must finish...and win.

In the Christian life, there are at least five kinds of runners:

The Casual Runner. He runs when he feels like it. For this Christian, the sacrifice demanded by the race is just too high.

The Cautious Runner. He thinks a lot about the race, but he plays it safe and seldom leaves the starting blocks.

The Compromised Runner. Unwilling to lay aside present pleasures, he has given into temptations to run outside his prescribed lane. He has few convictions and takes no costly stands in life.

The Callous Runner. This veteran runner is a cynic and is critical of people. Preoccupied with his injuries, his heart contains layers of thick, tough tissue made of bitterness, envy or apathy.

The Committed Runner. This person is determined to win and knows where the finish line is. "In training" at all times, he knows victory is never achieved by the fainthearted.

Ask God for the strength to finish the race that is set before you,
and that as you run you will "feel His pleasure."

Discuss: What kind of runner best describes you? Why?

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