Confessions, running shoes and Christ

by You Have My Word

Just because you accept Christ, doesn’t automatically make you Christ-like. Just like buying a really good pair of running shoes doesn’t automatically make you an Olympic runner. Similarly, going to McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger, as my mother used to say. (But let’s stick with the running example, it’s less greasy and maybe vegetarians will thank me.)

I grew up in a Christian home; both my parents were very involved in the church (and still are). One of my earliest memories is of me sitting on a blanket at my parents’ feet in an aisle eating raisins. Needless to say, I know about Christ.

My dad was a Comrades runner (respect), not since I was born though, but he did speak of it. I did cross-country for a while at school too (I won’t go into detail about my nonexistent first-place track record) and was coaxed into a number of sprints and relay races (if the bribes and flattery went high enough). Even now, I run to stay in (some sort of) shape. I know about running.

I accepted Christ at a really young age. I was baptised (in water and Spirit), and could speak in tongues at a tender age of eleven. I first led worship just short of two months after I had turned fifteen. Every event, every decision, every moment spent in prayer, every conference, every bit of counsel, has been a conscious decision to follow Christ’s example. Ultimately, to become more Christ-like. But I still have to choose to become Christ-like, I can’t expect it to happen in the background while my heart is asleep.

“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.” (Heb 12:1-3)

I am not a great runner. In fact, you’d probably have a good laugh watching me tottering and prancing and occasionally crawling from post to post until I reach where it is I’m going. I’m convinced though, that it is not so much about how I run or how fast I run or where I run to, as it is about the fact that I’m running. Sometimes I run against the wind, sometimes alone or past people, sometimes on gravel or uneven tar or uphill, sometimes I limp or run with sore muscles, and I have to press through with cramps and stitches or a tight chest.

And it’s not easy. But each time I get my (hopefully-decreasing-in-size) butt off the couch and put on my shoes and hit the road, I get better, stronger, fitter. Each time I tire a little slower, run a little faster, go a little farther.

I’m not a great Christian either. You’ll most likely get a chuckle out of that journey too if you saw half the silly decisions, the stubbornness, the same lessons failed and learned over and over. This Christian race (or journey) is a little more tricky. I can’t just turn around and go home. I can’t change course – there is one already set out for me, and Jesus demonstrated first, which way it is I’m meant to go.

It won’t always be easy; I may trip, it may be uphill, I may be alone, others may overtake me, there may be obstacles or detours. What matters is that I endure and persevere – one faithful foot in front of the other. Because each heart attitude, each decision, each thought, prayer, and interaction, becomes closer to that of Christ.

I bought really good running shoes a while ago and I’m just trying to get around the block for now. I accepted Christ many years ago, yes, but I am continuously striving to become more Christ-like.

Fortunately, I’ll never be a hamburger.