Chris and Annika have become serious about running. I, on the other hand, remain in the “novice” category. Their goal is a half marathon (13.1 miles, in case you’re wondering); my goal is not growing out of my clothes. The result is that I now run on my own, following the direction of my little app. When “he” says to run, I run. When “he” says to walk, I walk. I have enough in my life that’s complicated, so I’m perfectly happy just obeying an app and getting it done.
Much of my running throughout the winter has been on a treadmill, but with the nicer weather I’ve enjoyed a few outdoor runs. Tuesday, however, was the first day over 80º. I absolutely love sunshine, but when it was time to work out, I found myself driving to the Y to use the treadmill. It was just a degree or two past pleasant. Besides, on the indoor plan, I can plug in my headphones, watch a little news, and hardly notice I’m exercising!
As I entered the building, I realized how ridiculous it was that I was opting for the air-conditioned run in March. I thought, “If I don’t run outside today, I might not run outside for months.” Reluctantly, I turned around and headed back to the great outdoors.
It occurred to me as I took those first few strides that my reluctance to run in anything other than ideal conditions is the way most Christians approach their faith. See if you agree…
We call ourselves Christians and we agree with the truths of Scripture, but we prefer to remain on the treadmill with them. We’ll serve… but not too much. We’ll give… if it doesn’t affect our purchasing plans. We’ll pray… as long as we’re not sleepy. We’ll gather together to worship… as long as it’s not too nice of a day, or too wet, or a holiday weekend.
Do you see where this is going?
The truth of the matter is that most of us need to take our Christianity for an outdoor run. 2pm in the heat of the day is not a perfect time to run, but it was the perfect time to see what I was made of. It was tougher than the treadmill, but it was also more rewarding.
If that’s true, how much more rewarding will it be when Chris and Annika cross the finish line of their half marathon? They have a lot of training left to do… but with every step, they’re becoming better. They’re becoming stronger.
They’ll run in 80º heat because they know there’ll be 90º heat. The Lord has already told us there’ll be various trials, so we need to stop acting as if a treadmill is really living out our faith. We need to train and we need to stretch ourselves, so when the stresses and trials of life come, we have the stamina to keep running the race set before us.
Your turn: Where is one place you need to take a step forward in your commitment to Christ and get out of the air conditioning?