Last Sunday I saw a man jogging with a stick and–for some reason–I can’t get the image out of my mind.
I’ve been a runner for most of my life and I know what that means. That guy is running scared. He’s either been bitten by a dog, chased by a dog, or runs by the domain of a dog that appears to be a threat.
Runners don’t carry anything unless it’s important.
Unless you’re carrying a baton on a relay team, the only reason a runner carries a stick is to protect himself/herself from a threat.
Jogging is supposed to be fun . . . well . . . maybe not “fun”, but it’s definitely not supposed to be a fear-full experience.
I felt sorry for the guy for the same reason I feel sorry for any Christian who appears to be running scared.
The Christian life is supposed to be fun . . . well . . . maybe not “fun”, but it’s definitely not supposed to be a fear-full experience.
In Romans Paul reminds us that we “did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
And Peter challenges us, “Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened” (I Peter 3:14).
And the Hebrew writer, referring to the Christian life, writes:
“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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him 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 sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Are you running with a stick? Are you afraid of what’s around the next corner, or of what might be coming up from behind? We Christians should not be running scared, because we’re not running alone; we’re running with Jesus!
Insert cheesy picture I’ve been saving for just such an occasion:
In all seriousness . . . we must not lose heart. We must not allow fear to hinder our efforts to run the Christian race with confidence.
We must fix our eyes on Jesus, drop the stick, and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.