When I was a spring chicken, former procrastinators, I jogged in the early morning. (Picture that – a chicken jogging!) My mentor and several of us girls went to the track and did our laps. Another jogger was our pastor who offered me some pointers. He explained that I was swinging my arms from side to side which was affecting my gait, hindering progress. My arms were working against my legs and diverting energy from my mission. I was getting in my own way.
He suggested that I consciously pump my arms forward and backward which would smooth out my gait, making it easier to run. He was right. I had to pay attention and discipline myself to do forward/ backward because it wasn’t natural for me, but it became natural. Now when I exercise walk, I gratefully remember him.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. …[We do it] for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I Corinthians 9:24-27.
One wins the prize because of how he runs. Paul says there are two ways he runs to win: First, he runs with certainty. He recognizes the value of the prize and he wants it bad enough to run all out. Next, he runs intentionally. He makes the sacrifices of time, attention, physical and mental discipline to enable him to win. He coaches us to pay attention to how we run and get good at it so we win.
Most folks walk/run the course of this world so they drift as that spirit blows them. The spirit of the age influences them to think what’s here now is better than God’s eternal prize. They’re unwilling to sacrifice time, attention, and discipline to win the eternal because they don’t value it highly. If they don’t feel like showing up, they don’t. They opt for extra TV, another serving, more time in bed, putting things off.
When I first jogged, my swinging arms were beating the air. I needed coaching. Paul coaches us to run with a heart and mind devoted to Him, the prize. Then pay attention to run with focused, deliberate efforts so running is purposeful and effective without wasted energy. Bible reading, godly counsel, prayer, doing what needs doing when it needs doing, maximizing routines, showing up when we don’t feel like it. These help us resist the spirit of the age and win the prize.
How are you getting in your own way with a habit that pulls you off track? What change will help you run to win?