This past weekend, I ran a half marathon. It was hot and humid and now I’m physically paying for it in pain……..but it was worth it.
It was pretty crowded, and as we ran along rarely was there not someone pretty close to you. I had to be on my guard at all times so I wouldn’t be playing bumper cars with other runners. It would be pretty dangerous for an old man to go down on his face.
When training for a half marathon or any other distance running event you must have a specific training plan you follow. You have to run specific distances and speeds and even be diligent about your gait and posture. You have to be consistent with the food and drink you take into your body both before, during, and after the run. Consistency is important because if you introduce something into your run during the running event that you have never done before, it could keep you from finishing your race.
Basically you must have a plan and stick with it. No matter how you feel on race day.
However, one of the most difficult things for a runner to do is stay with the plan. You see someone running a little faster than your planned pace and you want to try to keep up. You went a little slower up the hill than you thought you would, so you miss your next “walk break” to make up a little time. Or better yet, you see a tiny little 20-something knocking it up a hill faster than you and, well, we can’t let that little girl beat you can we?
It’s very difficult to keep your mind off the other runners around you and stick with what you know you should be doing.
As I was running along this past weekend I considered how parallel that is to our walk with God.
God has given us a plan in His written word, the Bible. It’s written down, and in all honesty, it’s actually pretty clear. At least on the important parts, it is. Where His written word isn’t clear, He’s given us His Holy Spirit to guide us when He feels the time is right. The Bible is our plan. It’s His written plan for walking out our salvation and for living lives of obedience before God.
The problems begin, however, when we start looking at the other “runners” around us and think we need to keep up with them. We see them running a little faster. We see them being cheered on from the sidelines. And we see them meeting their goals with seeming ease. All the while we’re huffing and puffing just to get up the “hill” in our lives.
There are far too many “experts” these days that want to tell how to run better and faster and win that shiny medal of gold you’ve had your eyes and heart set on all your life. These “expert runners” frequently tell you things God wants you to be doing but, quite frankly, it’s just not in the Bible. Oh, they’ll take an instruction here or there, usually out of a plan meant for other types of running (Old Testament), and use it to help you run better. But it’s not in the current plan you’re to be running to.
You want to know what your plan says about you? Crack open your Bible and begin reading the New Testament. Until you finish, pour your heart into it. Tune out the other runners and keep your eyes on the plan until you’re done. When you reach a difficult “instruction”, ask “The Expert”, Jesus, to make it clear for you. In time He will.
Most of these “experts” mean well, but nevertheless it doesn’t help you run your race. As you run your race, studying and following your “plan”, and a true expert comes along with good advice, you’ll know it. Until then, tune the “experts” out.
10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11, ESV)
Even Luke, in the book of Acts, said it was a noble thing to search the scriptures diligently to see if what Paul was saying was true. I suggest you do the same with the “expert runners” around you……..you just might find you’ve been fed a load of ……..granola bars.