Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor. 9:24-27
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
I can do things through Jesus Christ, Who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Are you running a race? Now, maybe you are not an athlete and so you think, “the only race I am in is the rat race!“. That may be true, but in reality we are all in some kind of competition. Maybe it’s a race to see if you get promoted in your job, or you get promoted in school or maybe it’s running a 5K or even a marathon!
The Bible, God’s Word, has a Word (and more) for us on ‘running the race’! What does it mean to “run the race” for Christ? Well, I think it can mean the same things that it would mean if you were running an actual race, so let’s take a look:
Prepare – Merriam-Webster says the definition of prepare is:
verb pre·pare \pri-ˈper\ 1a : to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity <prepare food for dinner>b : to put in a proper state of mind <is prepared to listen> 2 to work out the details of: plan in advance <preparing a campaign strategy> 3a:to put together: compound <prepare a prescription> b : to put into written form <prepare a report>
So if we are running a race, we would need to prepare for it; let’s make a general list of why running would be good for us; it’s healthy to exercise, we can become stronger with more stamina and it can affect our mood and outlook. Let’s break this down in three areas; 1. Mentally – God has blessed us with incredible minds and with increased blood flow to the brain, that can promote long term improvement in mental processes, an increase in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine which are brain chemicals can affect mental health, deficiency in these chemicals can cause anxiety and depression (and we do not want a deficiency, do we?), some studies show that regular exercise can cause structural changes to the hippocampus which can improve learning and memory retention and even reduce depression and dementia! 2. Emotionally – God has blessed us with a a range of emotions and though I might not be aware of all of these things, running can improve your mood (endorphins, serotonin, dopamine), running accomplishes a goal which can improve your self-esteem and confidence, and running can show you that you through achieving your goals, you are a capable person! 3. Physically – God has blessed us with our bodies! Cardiovascular exercise like running, pumps oxygen rich blood to my brain, running can release endorphins in the body which help to relieve pain and stress, running can also reduce the degeneration of cells and increase the generation of new nerve cells and growth in blood vessels! Sounds like a win-win situation!
TO DO: Create your whys list now!
See Running the Race Part 2 and 3 for the rest of this series!