Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Running for Freedom

Today’s downtown run led to some interesting thoughts. Running brings me joy and I hardly feel more alive inside than when I run. It is freedom. Think about the things people run for: People run for their lives, in war, from home, to safety. People run for help. We run to warn people of coming danger. We run to escape. We run to the arms of our beloved. We run for sport, to push ourselves, to do what we thought impossible, to conquer goals. We run angry, we run scared, we run ecstatic. 
All of these reasons, in one way or another, lead to freedom. We either run so that we can be free or we run because we are free. 
Back in the good ol’ days when I took running seriously, I would recite 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 in my head right before a race. It pumped me up better than techno. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.”
At a glance, discipline appears to be the opposite of freedom. A closer look reveals that lack of self-control and being disqualified from the prize is bondage, meaning that discipline and its fruit lead to freedom. If we focus our running, decide we’re running for Christ, and go at it with all our might, we will know never-ending freedom when we see his face. 
Proverbs 19:16 says, “Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die.” We will all continue running, but those who run to obtain the prize will run for freedom, and they will receive it. 

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