I used to be an avid runner, and I still enjoy running from time to time. One evening this summer, while my son was at baseball practice, I thought I would take advantage of an opportunity to run on the trail that winds around the baseball park. However, since I had just eaten and wasn’t really dressed for heavy exercise, I decided to walk instead.
As I walked, I encountered an acquaintance with his family, and we greeted one another. Later, as I came around the other side of the trail, we met again. This time, he said, “Evan, my wife and I were talking … aren’t you a runner?” I thought it was interesting that even though he saw me walking, he still remembered me as a runner. He knew I was capable of much more than I was doing at the time.
There’s nothing wrong with walking; it’s great exercise. But running takes it to the next level. I started thinking about the difference in running and walking … not just in a physical sense but in a spiritual one as well.
The Bible has a lot to say about running. For instance, God spoke to the prophet Habakkuk and said, “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it” (Habakkuk 2:2, NKJV). He didn’t say, “Write the vision … that he may walk who reads it.” No, He wanted His people to run.
You see, God has a vision for your life, and He wants you to run with it! What does it mean to run with the vision God has given you? First of all, it means to see the picture that God sees for your life. Know the plan He has for you, and then go after it with full force, giving it everything you’ve got. It means to be committed to God’s call with your whole heart, not halfheartedly.
We should be like the apostle Paul who proclaimed, “I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me … I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12,14). The picture he painted was one of a runner straining for the finish line, not someone coasting along the way.
In another passage, Paul admonished young Timothy not to neglect the spiritual gifts that were in him. “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all” (1 Timothy 4:15).
Likewise, I encourage you to give yourself entirely to the spiritual gifts God has given you and the important work He has called you to do. Don’t just dabble in them, but “throw yourself wholly into them” (1 Timothy 4:15, AMPC). That’s when you’ll really make a difference!
Maybe the Lord is nudging you today with the same question I was asked on the walking trail: “Aren’t you a runner?” You might be standing or walking with His call, but God is reminding you today to run with it! Run with that vision! “You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24, MSG).
Even in a pandemic full of struggles and restrictions, never forget that God has called you for this specific time in history. He’ll help you to keep running if you’ll look to Him. Yes, let’s always run to win!