Today, I wanted to take some time to discuss a personal journey that I am on and to talk about something that I have very strong feelings about.
I don’t like running. I mean, I really don’t like running. I would rather lift the weight of the world than run. This is odd since I “ran” track in high school and have coached track at 2 different schools (Easley High and Enterprise High) Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t really run all that much on track. I tell people that I threw heavy things as far as I could. I did run the fat man relay (yes, that is a real thing) which saw 4 shot put/discus guys running the 4X100 meter relay. Yes, that image is as funny as you think it would be.
So, why am I talking about running if I abhor it so much? Because I read about it in my devotion this morning. Here is what I read in 1 Corinthians 9
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
As some of you know, I have been on a journey of try to get healthier the last 4 months. I haven’t done a crash diet or intermittent fasting (even though I do need to do more of the spiritual discipline of fasting). I haven’t gone and started lifting weights like I did as a high school athlete (I did max out on squats once a couple of weeks ago and did what I did in high school and hurt all over for a week afterward). I haven’t started running long distances or even at all (check back to the first paragraph to see how much I dislike running). I haven’t done any of those things.
However, what I have done is exactly what this passage in 1 Corinthians says. I have realized that I am running for the imperishable crown of heaven. I have also realized that I was not running the race of life in a way that brought honor to Christ. I knew I needed to discipline my body and keep it under control. This hasn’t been the easiest thing to do. I like eating as much as I dislike running. I have seen incredible progress over 4 months. I feel better, my knees hurt less, and as of this morning, I’ve lost over 45 lbs.
Why have I done this? It is because I know that I stand up every week and preach to teenagers and they see an overweight student pastor talking about delighting in God and giving him your whole life. I realized that as much as I talked about that I wasn’t actively doing that in every area of my life. I was talking a big game but wasn’t living a big game. I needed to gathering strength from my Savior in order to discipline myself so that I wasn’t disqualified. It wasn’t about wanting to show off how I looked, be more attractive to Jennifer, or have people tell me that I looked good. It was all about being disciplined so that Christ would get the glory. It hasn’t been easy, but running a race for THE imperishable prize never is.
Now, I’m going to go eat a granola bar and drink my protein shake and dream about eating a Bojangles Chicken biscuit combo, bo-sized, with a large sweet tea and seasoned fries.