I once stuck my foot in my mouth. Okay…I have done this many times…but I am talking about a specific time. This time, I told my wife I could run a mile in 7 minutes or less. She did not believe me…and thus challenged me to prove it.
Now, let me give you a little background. I don’t run. Unless there is a bear involved, I don’t run. The last time I actually ran a mile at one time was when I played baseball at Blackford High School when we had to be able to run a mile in 7 minutes to be on the team. That was 15 years ago. 15 years of not running. 15 years of not training. 15 years of not preparing. And now, because of my male pride, I was facing 4 laps around the track in 7 minutes or less to prove to my wife that I still had at 32 what I had at 17. It is amazing after a few years of marriage that we men still think we have something to prove to our wives.
Unfortunately…all too often…we approach our spiritual development with this same attitude. We assume that we know Christ enough. We assume that we grow in Christ enough. We assume that we go for Christ enough. We assume that we can run this race of faith as if we have trained a lifetime for it…when in reality…we have not trained at all.
The Apostle Paul once wrote:
“Don’t you know that all the runners in the stadium run, but only one gets the prize? So run to win. Everyone who competes practices self-discipline in everything. The runners do this to get a crown of leaves that shrivel up and die, but we do it to receive a crown that never dies. So now this is how I run-not without a clear goal in sight. I fight like a boxer in the ring, not like someone who is shadowboxing. Rather, I’m landing punches on my own body and subduing it like a slave. I do this to be sure that I myself won’t be disqualified after preaching to others.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)
Running without training won’t win. You may finish…but you won’t win. If you were going to run a marathon or a 5k…you should probably train. What about your faith? Are you practicing your faith in a way to win? Are you striving for the prize that Paul talks about?
This Sunday, I am excited to talk to you all about the discipleship pathway for NUMC and how you can take a clear path toward spiritual growth and maturity. I hope you will make it a point to join us in worship and join us as we journey together toward the prize!
Oh…by the way…do you want to know how I did in my attempt for the 7 minute mile with no training? You just might be surprised (if you doubt my physical abilities). But…in order to find out, you will have to join us on Sunday! See you then!