by Karen Porter
We attend a lot of cross-country running events to support our grandsons and the local high school team. We often shout encouragement, “Go past that guy in front of you” because one of the ways the boys do well in a race is to concentrate on the runner in front of them. When they overtake that runner, then they focus on the next one. Soon they have moved up in the race enough to come in first.
Lately I’ve read several Bible verses that remind me of those cross-country races.
Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy, “This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you” (2 Timothy 1:6 NLT). Paul understood the great spiritual future available to the young Timothy. But he also knew that it wouldn’t happen unless the young man pursued every opportunity to grow in the knowledge of God and to develop the gift of God. When I discover and run after God’s plan, I am moving closer to His purpose for my life.
God wants us to go after Him like a runner running from behind. Chasing the target of becoming more like Jesus. How is that goal working out for me? Am I more like Him than I was ten years ago? In some ways, I am more like Him. I have developed some of His traits such as my desire for spiritual growth, and I’m better at reading the Bible and talking to others about my faith. And while I’ve grown in other areas too, I still need more patience and kindness along with other Christ-like traits such as being quick to forgive and thinking less of myself and more of others.
Are you running after the Lord like a runner in a race? Paul encourages us from the sidelines, “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:14 NLT). Pressing on means we don’t quit when we feel tired or discouraged. If you are like me, you wake up some mornings with no desire to run. It’s on those days that we should take deliberate steps to pursue him such as read His Word or listen to praise music.
And if I’m honest, I admit that I sometimes pursue God for the wrong reasons. Sometimes chasing Jesus for some elusive reward, as author Lori Roeleveld wrote, “we are not turning to God to be with God. We’re turning to God hoping for a big payout.” Chasing God means we want to be in His presence more than we want anything else.
And as we run, he runs along beside us saying, “You can do it! Keep moving!”
“Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.” Psalm 105:4
About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.
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Join the conversation: What opportunities has God given you that you have responded to with a “yes”?