As I am training up for a Half Marathon at the end of January (more specifics to be posted on that later), God has me thinking about the topic of competition. I have always thrived under competition. It has pushed me to do my best. But, the Lord has shown me that everything should be done to be pleasing to Him. It is not the Lord’s will for me to be the best, unless in case, it is for a particular instance or reason, and then HE will exalt me for HIS purposes for a time. But, I should not strive to be the best. Paul talks about competition in the new testament. He talks about striving for the reward in heaven (‘run in a way in which to receive the prize’ -1Cor 9:24-27). He is speaking to a people who are familiar with the Greek Olympic mentality. He speaks about training our bodies and minds to be faithful and obedient to God’s commands. He knows it will be a battle, so he talks about fighting through that battle in a similar way as we might train up for and participate in a race. He tells us to run OUR best! But, not to be THE best! If we focus on being our best, and not comparing ourselves to anyone else, God will get us where He wants us to be (and that is the best place for us to be). We won’t be in a place where everyone else is envious of us (this goes back to not wanting to tempt others or make them jealous). We should be uplifting to others–we should want to encourage them to be the BEST that God has for them too. If we are doing this, in complete humility and with propriety, then they will not feel threatened or jealous, but excited for His plan for us (this is a difficult concept for those who don’t believe). And then we should use those gifts and talents God has gracefully bestowed upon us to help build up the Church–His Bride. We can do this through our awareness and thankfulness of those gifts. Contrary to popular opinion, God does NOT give us our gifts/talents to benefit US. All that we do, all that we are, is for HIS GLORY.
I needed to reflect on this in order to prepare my heart for this race. I am going to be running with a purpose: To spread the news about HIS plan and calling for a missionary family and for HIS special plan for Soddo, Ethiopia to be a light unto the world. THIS is my purpose for runnning. May I run the race to win the prize of SPREADING HIS WORD!!! May He get all the glory, no matter how slow or fast I run. It doesn’t matter. It’s for HIS Glory. I will train my best and enjoy running for HIM.
I am thankful to be able to run. I am thankful for the wonderful outlet that runnning has always been for me. What a gift it is to be able to run and enjoy God’s creation. I am really looking forward to the race! I can’t wait to see what God has planned through it.