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Running From or Toward

None of us knows how the 21st century will be remembered in the history books.  One thing that is bound to be mentioned will be the intense and continual emphasis on fitness.  Diet plans, weight loss “meds” and support groups, fitness centers, and lots of walking and running will mark our generation.   In our city, we have walking trails that run for miles across Tulsa and the suburbs.  Runners are found on the sidewalks, streets, trails, gyms, and parks everywhere.  Almost every week, there is a fun run, 5K, marathon, or some equally notable opportunity for a runner to compete with their personal “best time” previously to see if they have improved in their speed.

Runners are a dedicated lot.  Some choose to run in groups, but most run alone.  They are not dissuaded by bad weather, extreme heat, bodily pain from a previous run, or any other demands that would keep them from their usual time of running.  Some are early morning folks. Others use their lunch hour or the first thing after work to make time for that discipline.  Still others, run after dark due to full days that continue into the early evenings.

Running helps reduce stress, builds cardio capacity, core strength, confidence, and diminishes the need to take medications for maladies that afflict those that have a more sedentary existence.  Those people that run daily say that there is a release of dopamine and serotonin that creates a great sense of joy and a “high” from the pounding of the pavement. I will never know that to be true personally!

Running should also be present in one’s spiritual life. Running from evil and running toward the things of God…..

Consider the contrast between fleeing and pursuing. It is not enough to just stop doing things or at least stop the frequency of those things that do not honor God. Sometimes it is easy to think, “I just do it once in a while. What’s the harm?” The problem is that people really do see what you’re saying. Sometimes actions really do speak louder than words.

Instead pursue or run after with all your strength and energy and focus those things that exhibit godly character. For Paul the man of God flees and pursues. They are opposite directions, which would be consistent with the concept of repentance meaning to turn around and go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

When I think of the word pursue, I picture bloodhounds running in relentless pursuit of an escaped convict. Once their noses get the scent, they do not give up and rarely lose the scent. A lot of the stuff that you see in movies like running through a stream or running up a stream and exiting at a different point are simply busted myths. You can’t lose the pursuit of a bloodhound by doing those things.

Like bloodhounds our pursuit of God’s ways and the ways of Christ needs to be characterized as relentless. It should be constant not just convenient. The man of God follows Jesus 24/7. It is not just Sundays but every day of the week. It is every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. The pursuit of righteousness doesn’t end at five o’clock nor does it end at noon on Sunday. Everything we say and everything we do reflects or at least should reflect a pursuit of godliness.  (Copied).