Friday, February 7, 2014

TRUTH Day 07: The Ultimate Marathon

My Women's Bible study group is studying the book "Choose Joy" by Kay Warren and, though we're only two weeks in, I will already say it has been life-changing. My view of Jesus has been very skewed in the past, as I've seen Him as more of a sad, stern character than a joyful person. Jesus was actually a Man of joy and this Man had a sense of humor, too!

Last week's study presented the verse Hebrew 12:2 and helped me to see it in a new light. Take a read below:
Do you see what this means - all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running - and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed - that exhilarating finish in and with God - he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. HEBREWS 12:1-2 (The Message)
After reading this verse three times, we were asked to choose ONE word that stood out to us and what emotion we linked to that. Then we were asked to illustrate or explain what this spoke to us. My brain is so weird sometimes because I got really excited... like giddy excited. The word I chose: Finish. And the emotion: Exhilaration.

Jesus didn't just run a race. He was (and is) the ultimate marathoner and He ran the ultimate eternal race. Jesus was focused on the prize and running with purpose.

Here is my take on Hebrews 12:1-2 translated to the "marathoning perspective":

Race Entry: It's Free. And God Gives You A Coach!


Unlike marathons in this world, the eternal race's entry fee is grace and God gives it to us as a gift. There are no strict qualifying time requirements. To qualify, all we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and live our lives for Him! And, to top it all off, God gives us our own personal coach, the Holy Spirit, to guide us every single day. This definitely is the ultimate marathon.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--" EPHESIANS 2:8

The Start: Jesus, the Author of Our Faith


From the second Jesus crossed the starting line until the time He crossed the finish, Jesus fixed His eyes on where He was headed and let nothing distract Him from His purpose. Jesus is the Author of our faith. He is our Starting Line and the Finish Line!

Hitting the Wall: Persevering Through Life's Trials


Jesus passed through more trails and pain than I will ever know in my lifetime, yet He didn't lose His focus on God or lose faith. He wasn't distracted by sin and temptations. We can't let the side-stitches, cramping muscles, and GI distress of life cause us to stray from the race course. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

The Aid Station: Filling Up On God's Truth and His Spirit


Jesus filled Himself up at the best aid stations ever: spending time with God and knowing His Truth. In our faith journey, we can fill ourselves up with the Holy Spirit, time in prayer, and reading God's Word. In the 26.2  marathon, GU gels, pretzels or cookies will do ;)

The Finish: Being United With Jesus, the Perfecter of Our Faith


Jesus has already crossed the most exhilarating and the ultimate finish line to an eternity with God. Crossing the finish line of a marathon is an amazing feeling, so how much more exciting will it be to cross the eternal finish line! Imagine the relief, the joy, and the peace we will feel.

The Finisher's Tent: Spending Eternity with God


After Jesus crossed the eternal finish line, I picture Him grabbing a bagel (or two) and some chocolate milk in the finisher's tent. Of course, He's wearing one of those beautiful aluminum marathon capes, too (a.k.a. "Heatsheets"). Now Jesus is sitting alongside God for all eternity in the best finisher's tent ever. I can't even fathom how wonderful that will be. It fills me with so much joy to even think about it!

The Prize: Eternal Life


Eternal life is the ultimate finisher's medal. Jesus has already ran this marathon and now He is our Coach. He's been there, done that, and is now waiting for us in the finisher's tent. We need to follow His example to get there! Thank God for His Holy Spirit and for the guidance available to us for every mile of the journey.

This is my favorite "worldly" medal - if you look at the bottom text, Hebrews 12:1 is right there! This was also my first Boston Qualifying time and first road race... memories :) It's special, but no where near as awesome as the eternal prize (no kidding, huh?)!

What do you picture Jesus to be like?
What word and emotion stands out to you in Hebrews 12:1-2?

I'm running fast and free to You
'Cause You are the movement and fight in me
I'm running fast and free to You
'Cause You are my home where I wanna be
Come move in me
Where I wanna be, come move in me

"Movements" by Rend Collective Experiment

The TRUTH Challenge Series --- Day 01: Wisdom, Day 02: Worry, Day 03: Love, Day 04: Guard Your Heart, Day 05: Gracious Words, TRUTH Day 06: Be Joyful, Pray Continually, Give Thanks


Study Resources: http://www.biblestudytools.com/
NLT, NIV, KJV Bible Translations

Womanhood With Purpose

8 comments:

  1. What an awesome post- just what I needed at the end of this week! Thanks for sharing, will definitely be picking this book up! My pastor spoke last week about choosing joy and it really got me thinking, this fits perfectly. I definitely recommend The Shack too- really changed my perspective on Jesus

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    1. I've never read the Shack before but I've heard a lot about it; sounds like a popular read! Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. this is such an awesome perspective!!

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  3. Amen, Amy!! I love your post. I'm a new runner and this is inspiring on multiple levels. Maybe it's time I pick up Choosing Joy--my brother bought it for me for Christmas. I love the connections you made between running and our spiritual life. Featuring you in the Pin-it Party!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and featuring my post, Gabby. Keep up the running :) Running is so awesome; going out for a run is definitely freeing. I look forward to stopping by the Pin-It Party today!

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  4. I have The Shack if you want to borrow it! :)

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    1. Maybe I could read that one later this year; I'm trying to make my way through "Made to Crave" and "Forgotten God" right now!

      P.S. I'm excited that this is your first comment on my blog :)

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