My sons have been involved in running groups, cross country teams, and track for years. I have watched them develop speed, technique, and stamina as they strive to beat the other runners to the finish line. I have watched them shave off seconds and minutes from their personal best times. The more they run, the stronger they become.
What are you running after? Are you running after the bigger house, the newer car, the corner office? Another framed certificate for the wall? What are you running after? Whatever you run after it the very thing on which you have set your heart. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
It can be a difficult thing to face, but it is true. What we focus on, we make into our treasure. Yet, if we are not careful, that treasure can become a trial. We will obsess over it, worry about when it’s out of our sight. We will forget the other things we valued as the treasure becomes our idol. After a while, that idol can turn into our god.
While we know from story after story in Scripture that false gods are wrong and ultimately damage the relationship we have with God- we still do it. We still run after the things that are finite, false, foolish, and potentially deadly for our souls. Why? I don’t have an answer I like, but the answer is simple. Pride. Fear. Greed. The most basic issues of humanity that have been battled since the Garden of Eden.
Instead of running after the things that have caused us to stumble and fall, we can turn to run after God. Like the father of the Prodigal Son who watched the end of the road for a glimpse, God is watching for us and waiting for us to run to Him. When we do, He will run to us.
May we remember to run like Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, 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. 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. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
Let us run with purpose and focus to complete the race in front of us. As it says in Hebrews 12:1-3, 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Let us tie our shoes, adjust our focus, and run with perseverance and freedom after the God who is running toward us always.