Running with Perseverance

I went running on Saturday morning it nearly killed me!

I had decided a day earlier it was about time, at the beginning of a new year, to lose some post Christmas pounds and get fit. So up I got on a cold Saturday morning in Hull (we were visiting the in-laws) got changed into my running gear, did the obigitory stretches and set off for what would no doubt be a tough run, little did I know how tough.

I started out with triumphant strides but by the time I got to the end of the road, which was probably a few hundred metres, I was already slightly out of breath, not a good start! I made my way towards the KC Stadium (the football ground of the Tigers, my Father in Laws team, Hull City) and I ran around the grounds, did some running up and down steps hoping to look and feel like Rocky Balboa from the Rocky movies, but if I am honest I probably looked like I was just plain struggling.

By the time I made my way back towards the house, my run had gone from a triumphant run to a struggling jog (although those passing by may have said a fast walk). I felt like giving up! Did I? Not a chance. I finally got back to the house exhausted but so pleased I had persevered through the pain and completed my first run since June last year.

I opened the car door to put my stuff away, thinking to myself, that must have been a good long run 30-35 minutes. When I looked and found I had clocked up only 20 minutes I was momentarily deflated, but then I reminded myself it was the first time I had run in ages, I felt pleased with myself for persevering when I could have just stopped. I certainly felt the effects of the run the next day which wasn’t pleasant, but there was an achievement behind the pain…. but, one run isn’t enough I need to keep going…

One run won’t get me fit, even two runs won’t get me fit, I have to start regularly running, it has to become a part of my lifestyle, I have to persevere through the times when I just want to stop, I have to persevere through the niggles, the wet and the cold weather. Becoming fit takes a lot of effort.

Sometimes my relationship with God can be a bit like my relationship with running. There are times when I really enjoy it, there are times when I want to just stop, hold my hands up and say I give up, I’m beaten. Times when I feel like I am battered and bruised from the things of life and left wondering if I will ever get to where I want to be! But do I give up? No chance!

Just as I desire to be physically fit through my running, I want to be spiritually fit. I want to run the race God has called me on with purpose so I might become the person God wants me to be. I will face obstacles, temptations, trials, sufferings and challenges along the way, but I choose with the Holy Spirit’s help to run with purpose, to rejoice in all circumstances and to overcome all things that come up against me, knowing that eventually I will end up becoming exactly who God wants me to be if I persevere.

The Apostle Paul says in Romans 5 v 3-5 to rejoice in our sufferings “Because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom God has given us.”

Ultimately I want to be a someone who has their eyes focused on the goal of eternity with Jesus. How about you, do you desire that too?

Paul says in his letter to the Philippians in chapter 3 v 13-14 he says “…Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

In order to receive the prize we need to build up our fitness and keep spending time in God’s word, spending time building a relationship with God and our church family, pushing through the trials, temptations and challenges and keep allowing God to shape us.

We aren’t the finished article, but by God’s grace each step we take will shape us to be more like him… Let’s run with purpose, let’s run with conviction and let’s run with perseverance so we might receive the prize.

Be Blessed

Pastor Steve

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