Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Running Versus Walking

Christians like to use the phrases "walking with God" and "running the race."  They refer to two entirely seperate concepts, but I thought it would be interesting to look at running versus walking in each of them.


The term "walking with God" is largely pulled from a variety of Old Testament verses that talk about the path for our lives that God has set before us, and some non-literal translations actually use the phrase.  The general meaning is that we should spend every moment of every day in communication with God, living out every aspect of our lives how we believe He wants us to.

Walking instead of running is an apt term in this case for a few reasons...consider:
  • Walking involves steady, continual progress - there aren't all the bursts, lags, and breaks that come with running.  The same is true in Christianity - staying close to God as habit means less of the up-and-down, up-and-down of growing and then falling into temptation.
  • Walks are seen as enjoyable, not tiring.  Staying close to God provides us with His peace and comfort.
  • We are less likely to stumble and fall when walking, because one foot is always on the ground.  The same goes for temptation - when we stay close to God, we're established in Him.
  • We aren't thinking just about the end goal, because we are also making sure to enjoy the experience itself.  Eternity with God doesn't start when we die - it starts the instant we accept Christ.  We can experience a taste of heaven on Earth when we spend time with our Savior.
Overall, walking with God in this sense produces genuine maturity, instead of rushing on toward accomplishments that we think are hallmarks of Christian maturity, but truthfully are not.  Walking with God serves as training so that when a temptation or trial comes (think race day), we can handle it with ease.


The phrase "Running the race" is pulled from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27:

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

This saying basically refers to living crazy in love with Jesus.

Running, instead of walking, is the better way to describe this concept for these reasons:
  • Running is hard work - and it's hard work to truly live like Christ!  Dying to self is never easy.
  • Runners "keep their eye on the prize" - they consciously focus on the finish line.  We talked a bit about this in Monday's study - sometimes remembering our eternal purpose and destination is the best way to keep ourselves from being distracted by the world and endure when life gets rough.
  • It's much harder for competitors to catch up with someone who is running instead of walking.  Likewise, if we're putting all our energy into our relationship with God, Satan will find fewer opportunities to tempt us than if we are are living apathetically.
Overall, running the race involves actually answering our call - living up to our full potential as followers of Christ.

What other aspects of running and walking can you think of that apply to the Christian life?

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