I have spent much of my adult life not being overly concerned with how much I eat, what I am putting into my system and I certainly was not active enough to burn off all the calories I was dumping into my system.  The older I got the worse my metabolism got and blammo I ballooned up quite a bit since the day I got married.  In March, I tried again to exercise to lose the weight.  It is not as if I haven’t tried to lose weight before, I have just never stuck with the program.  I suppose through the years I have lost close to 1000 lbs and the sad thing is I gained them all back.  All because I lacked a few things needed to make a real difference in my life.  One of which was the knowledge of how this was impacting my spiritual life.  Obesity is not just a physical problem, it stems from something much deeper.  It is a spiritual problem.  While it is true that some people have low metabolisms naturally, that low metabolism is not what makes them eat a large pizza by themselves or down a dozen cookies in a single seating.  That my friends is a lack of self control.  And that according to II Tim. 3:3 is indeed sinful. 
Coming to this knowledge has led me to a new path not just for my soul, but for my health.  By the time June rolled around I began to realize all of this.  I looked at my daughter running in a 5k.  I watched many of those that I have been training with running their own 5ks and I was standing there on the sidelines making excuses as to why I cannot run three miles and that’s when it hit me.  I can do this.  So, I started running.  I told my family I would run a 5k at the next Grinnell games and something amazing happened.  In August I ran my first 5k.  I was not overly pleased with my results though.  I had been running so well on my own I thought for certain running a 5k would not have been so hard.  The Monday before the race I had ran 1.8 miles in 18 minutes.  I had never run that hard for that long before.  I was so excited for the 5k.  I lined up with everyone else. Some of those I ran with I knew I had no chance to keep up with.  They were lean, they looked like runners.  Others, I thought, I could keep up with their pace.  Boy was I wrong.  As the race went on I was left in the dust, by the time I reached the half way point my daughter was the only one I could see.  Each step seemed to take me further not closer to the finish line.  By the time I finished I was certain it took me 1 hour.  I was slightly encouraged to hear 42:32 was my official time.  But in the back of my head I kept thinking how did I go from averaging a 10 minute mile to a 16 minute mile?  I was overwhelmed.  I felt defeated.
The following Tuesday one of those I have been training with asked me how I did.  I told him poorly; to which he replied, “But you finished, right.”  Yes.  Yes I finished.  It was then that I decided to run a ˝ marathon.  You see, it was not about finishing 1st.  It was not about finishing fast.  It was about finishing.  The prize that I run for is not 1st place.  The prize that I run for is my personal best.  The prize that I run for is completion.
The more I train the more that I have come to understand what Paul meant in I Cor. 9:24-27.  While I do not believe that a person has to be in good health, an avid runner, etc to get into heaven, we do know that a person has to be in good spiritual health to get there.  To do this, you must run.  Life is indeed a marathon.  There are going to be times when we feel like quitting.  They are going to be times when we will feel like crying out because it is so hard.  But we must keep going.  We don’t have to run it fast, but we are going to have to keep running.  Why?  Because it is all about finishing. 
To have good spiritual health you must run with direction.  I knew that running a ˝ marathon is not accomplished by going out there and just running.  You must train your body.  You must train your mind to endure the hardships.  You must take rest.  You must fuel your body appropriately.  Likewise, if we hope to get to heaven we are going to have to train our souls to run.  We are not just to go through life living.  We are to go through life with purpose, with direction (of course, that direction should be supplied by the bible). 
We daily buffet our bodies to make it our slave, not the other way around.  For the runner it is really tempting to listen to the burning in your legs and say, “That’s it.  I’m done.”  But the runner must make the body follow his/her will.  Likewise, we are going to be faced with all sorts of temptations in our life.  For the good of our spiritual health we are going to have to take control of our bodies.  We are indeed more than animals and we certainly should be capable of exercising some self control over whatever that temptation may be; food, alcohol, drugs, fornication, gossip, etc.
“Let us run with patience the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1).”
-WTK

Grinnell church of Christ
 
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Run to Finish

The Light
Volume 4 Issue 39