Before the arthritis in my knees became a problem, I jogged for exercise. My goal was to run a 5K. I bought good running shoes, clothing that wicks away water, a fanny pack for my phone, and downloaded a running app to keep track of my pace and distance. I had fun—truly. I enjoy the sensation of running. What I noticed in the process was how my pace almost always picked up at my turn-around point. There was something motivating about reaching that spot and still having energy. Without even realizing it, I would pick up my pace as I headed toward my goal and waiting car.
Enduring this relatively short distance was doable, even for an inexperienced runner like me. But we have a family friend who runs ultra-races of 50 and 100 miles. How are those kinds of runs possible? I know that people who run “crazy” distances need lots of muscle strength and good sources of fuel. But beyond the physical requirements is a unique mental mindset. “For ultrarunners, personal records, traveling, and racing with friends is more valuable than competing with other athletes.”*
What a striking picture of what it means to run the Christian life with endurance! We run together, in packs, you might say. You have to condition your own heart and mind.
Solitary time with God develops strength and provides spiritual fuel. But the actual running is done with other believers—fellow runners who provide comradery, encouragement, perspective, love, comfort, hope, and prayer support. God didn’t call us to run as loners. Our Three-in-One God knows the richness of relationship, and He intends for us to experience that both with Him and with each other.
So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.
–1 Thessalonians 5:10 MSG
ACTION: How would you rate your core spiritual strength right now? Are you taking in sufficient spiritual fuel from the Word and through other good sources? Do you feel alone in your ministry or daily life as a believer? How is that affecting you? In what ways could you connect with other believers more?
*Hailey Middlebrook quoting Zbigniew Waśkiewicz, Ph.D., in Runner’s World Jan 7, 2019