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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Run In Such A Way That You May Win

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Cor. 9:24)

Recently athlete Adam Coccia was quoted to say this about CrossFit. "This is CrossFit. No one is going to stop you from stopping. Nobody is going to be disappointed if you scale down. You have nothing to prove to anyone, but to yourself. And that might be the most important aspect of CrossFit."  

There is a connection between Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthian Christians who were struggling, learning what it meant to be God’s saints in a hostile world and Adam’s comment about CrossFit. I find this illustrated best by the Monday’s workout following a fairly hefty warm-up:

200m run 
4 minute jump rope 
400m run 
3 minute jump rope 
600m run 
2 minute jump rope 
800m run 
2 minute jump rope 

Sounds easy. Looks good on paper. I had to jog (not run) the 600, and walked the first 400m of the last 800--but I finished. I scaled down and finished in such a way that I could actually finish and not quit. Had to take a few quick breathers jumping rope, but I finished.

One reason I like to exercise outside is because life is not easy; that is, victorious Christian living does not occur in a gym or a box (ala CrossFit). Life happens “out there,” in the heat; and, we have before us the opportunity to quit or finish. Quitting accomplishes nothing. Finishing brings strength.

The struggle of living God-pleasing lives in a hostile world is not easy. We have not only the grace God to help us through but we also have His strength. His strength is not provided to us to help us quit, but to finish and finish well. Think of all those who have gone before us, scaling their pace so they could finish with unfaltering steps. My Granny and Pop were two people that come to mind, two people I can personally say have run to win. They did not flame out. Stopping was not an option for them. They watched their steps, as it were, and paced themselves along the path of obedience to Christ. I love that example—I need that example.

Someone somewhere said that the Christian life is not a sprint but a marathon. Marathon running may need the training of intervals and short bursts of speed and strength (preparing for the long haul), but it is scaling back that counts. Let nothing stop you from pursuing Christ.

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