…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, looking to Jesus… Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
I have a love/hate relationship with running. For the most part, I hate getting started, but am thankful when I finish. This morning was no different…rolled out of bed and hit the treadmill for three miles. As I ran, I meditated on the verse above. Spiritual formation parallels running: it’s tough and rewarding simultaneously. Two particular insights stood out to me during my meditation time.
First, sin will continue to challenge us. I’m reading a book on the gospel for teens called This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe. Last night I read the chapter on sin, and she really convicted me that sin is real and must be fought daily and passionately. During my run this morning I reflected on my besetting sins and considered how they trip me up in my spiritual life. I asked God for deliverance from my sin, as it really does weigh me down and clings so closely. Secondly, as I panted through the third mile, I realized running is a great metaphor for spiritual formation. We have to persevere with endurance. I can overcome sin for a season, but it will come back shortly. Similarly, the first mile is always easy, but after that it becomes a challenge. When I run, I look to the next mailbox as my goal (and then the next, and the next, and the next). In my spiritual formation, I have to look to Jesus every moment of every day.
It’s Saturday. Hopefully you have at least a little time to yourself today. Take a few minutes and evaluate your personal spiritual life. Are you putting off the sin that weighs you down and clings so closely? Are you running with endurance the course God has set forth for you? Are you looking to Jesus every moment of the day? These things are never easy; in all reality, they stink and drain us of every ounce of energy we have. However, the rewards are great. Just as I was energized when I finished my run, when I evaluate my life and see sin growing less as I grow closer to Jesus, I’m energized. Be encouraged!