After nearly a decade off I have gotten back to running. One thing that is different than it was ten years ago is the advent of the iphone. You used to run with a watch on and could glance at it to see how you were doing. If you wanted to map out a run you had to get in the car and drive around with your odometer ticking off the miles, which was less than ideal. With today’s technology you can just download an app that will give you your split, calculate your pace and tell you when you are near the end of your run. Run anywhere you like…it doesn’t matter because the phone is tracking your distance via GPS. Amazing. Where was all of this 10 years ago? Probably floating around in the recesses of Steve Jobs’ mind.
Anyway, the app I have been using is called Nike+…I have this app set to tell me every quarter mile how many miles I have run until the half way point and then it flips and tells me how many miles I have left. When it flips into countdown mode it is so encouraging. Every quarter mile report reminds you that the end is getting closer when you can stop your running and cool down. As the countdown was in full swing this morning it occurred to me that this countdown to the finish has a lot in common with what scripture has to say about being encouraged by the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. This world is in countdown mode. Everyday, Jesus’ return gets closer and closer. We know the end is in sight and we just have to keep on running.
Paul said it like this,
“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” – 1 Cor 9:24-27
The Hebrew writer said it like this,
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Heb 12:1-3
He goes on to tell us that we have much to endure the discipline God gives us (12:7-11) so that we can be strengthened (12:12). So let us run with perseverance and endurance. Let us not be weak spiritually but be strong. Let us be encouraged because the end is closer now than it has ever been before!