Run Baby Run

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There are four possible outcomes for a race.
You win.
You lose.
You quit.

You don’t show up
In my sixty-five years of running there have been many small races in my bigger race and I have experienced all of those possible outcomes.
But I have also learned there are things I have to do to not only run but to finish well.
Run now
Run light
Run my race.
Run forward.
Run with patience.

Run now
I have to avoid thinking “I have plenty of time”.
In real estate we have a phrase we use “time is of the essence”. It is a legal term that when used in a contract, places the other party on notice that failure to complete a required performance by a certain date set forth will constitute an incurable breach.
Although God does not give us a set day when our race will finish He does encourage us to run now.
I love the Message translation of Hebrews 3:13
“So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God. For as long as it’s still God’s Today, keep each other on your toes so sin doesn’t slow down your reflexes. If we can only keep our grip on the sure thing we started out with, we’re in this with Christ for the long haul.”
There will be a definite end to our race. And even though we might not realize it we are always running towards two possible outcomes. The only question that remains is- Is it the course that God has marked out for us or a different course?

Run (travel) light.
A skilled runner will strip down to the bare necessities before the race begins. He or she understands unnecessary weight only slows you down.
There are things in our race we carry with us that are not wrong in and of themselves but slow us down.
And there is always the temptation to bend the rules to cut corners that will ultimately disqualify us.
If we are to finish well we have to throw off everything good or bad that hinders us.

Run your race
In Hebrews 12:1 we are instructed to run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
The verse does not specify a sprint, a relay or a long distance run but focuses on running your race whatever it might be. All our races look different but I cannot run yours, you cannot run mine even though we might sometimes run together.
In a 5k, 10k, or marathon there is a designated starting point and a finish line. You might be the faster runner in the pack and outdistance the competition. But if you finish somewhere other than the designated finish line you will be disqualified.

Run Forward
Skilled runners do not have to be told to run forward.
But sometimes we do. You can’t run forward if you spend most of your time looking back. At least not for very long.
The same can be said about running in circles. Lots of activity but no forward progress.
If you have not heard “ready, set, go”, maybe it’s not time for you to run. Sometimes the best thing you can do is prepare, be still, and wait. Again running your race and not following the crowd is most important.

Run With Patience
I have a friend who runs 100 mile marathons. The preparation to run the marathons is intense but nothing compared to the actual running of the marathon. I asked him “what keeps you running when the physical and mental exhaustion takes away the will to run?”
His answer, “Spirit”.
“The soul has immeasurable energy if we as human beings choose to use it.”
The last part of the race can be the most difficult.
Some of you have been running for a long time and you’re tired.
Some of you started out strong but the course has become difficult and the finish line seems far away.
It’s easy to want to check out, give up when everything in you says “quit” when the finish line is so close.
Endurance is needed and in these times it only comes from keeping your eyes on the One who has called you to run your race. My friend is correct He offers immeasurable energy when we call on Him. Hebrews encourages us to
“Run with endurance the race God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

Thank you Pastor Jamie Bilyeu for the inspiration you provided that enabled me to write this.

 

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About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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