Run for Jesus

When we live out our faith, we run for Jesus.  Paul uses the example of training for a race. Are you running in such a way to get the prize?

Run for Jesus!- Hebrews 12:1-2 overlay on yellow sky background with silhouette of woman running


In 2011, my oldest daughter asked me if I would run a 5K race with her. Of course not, I replied. I don’t run. I was a notoriously horrible runner. The only running I did was chasing after my children or dog.  She persisted, however, and told me that the race only lasted 30”. Since I had no idea how far a 5K actually was or have any knowledge of how fast I could run, I told her I would “go for a run” and see how far I could go. Turns out that I did run, very slowly, and for about 15”. I hesitantly agreed to give the race a try. Worst case scenario, I would sprain an ankle or embarrass myself horribly.

My husband got on the bandwagon with me, and we “trained”. I do not have one athletic or competitive bone in my body. He gave me some tips and I tried to run what I found out was 3 miles. It was torture. Turns out, I don’t like running when it’s a) hot, b) humid, c) windy, or d) hilly. You probably get the picture.

Race day came. My goal was to run the race without walking. After about 2/3 of the way through, my daughter said, “See? This isn’t too bad, is it?” I think I must have looked at her as if she had sprouted horns, and I replied, “Yes, it is!” I did finish, and that race was just the first of many I have run. I’ve never become a fast runner. But it is great exercise, you don’t need any equipment except for good shoes, and you can do it anywhere, anytime. And so, for my health, I persist.

But let’s talk about another kind of running!

Running the Race of Faith

When I wrote my blog on being a light for Jesus, I ran across this verse: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.”- Proverbs 18:10. That verse has stuck with me. The “run” part sparked my curiosity. Why are we encouraged to run?

To run is obviously, to move quickly. I loved the synonyms for “run” in the dictionary: rush, hasten, hurry, bolt, fly, charge, hurtle, speed, and zoom. Do those apply to our relationship with God?

Or do we walk, shuffle, meander, saunter, plod, trudge, and ramble? He is our refuge, our safety. We should be running to this strong fortress who will protect us with safety and security. Telling us to run to him gives us a stronger sense of urgency in our relationship with him.

Run for Jesus!- side view of girl with white tank top running in a park. Hebrews 12:1 overlay

Run the Race with Endurance

1Corinthians 9:24-25 is a great illustration of how to do just that:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Paul was using an example that was familiar to the Corinthians. Every other year the people of Corinth hosted athletic games. These athletes and their strict training would be familiar to them. Training for a race takes work and discipline. They had to build up their stamina. There was no aimless wandering. They had their eyes on the prize and worked hard to win it.

Our prize- eternal life with God- has already been won for us. Our race is in living out our faith.

Training for a Race

Do we apply the same principles of discipline and determination to our prayer life, our Bible study and our worship? How is your training coming along? Athletes can’t just walk up to the starting line and run a marathon. Like them, we need to be in training for the long haul. If we put in the time and effort, we will get stronger and stronger.

Are you putting in the work and training, or watching from the sidelines? Are there some days that you just don’t feel like racing? Too busy to race?

We’re human, so of course, there will be setbacks in training. Injuries have set me back more than once. It’s frustrating to have to go back to a place you’ve felt you’ve already conquered. But rebuilding stamina is required if you want to keep running.

The same holds true for running our Christian race. Consider Hebrews 12:1- “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.”

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Instead of injuries or disruptions getting in the way of our training schedule, what trips us up in the Christian race is our sin. If we take our eyes off Jesus, we stumble. (Hopefully to our knees!)

In that very first 5K, I had to get a drink of water. I didn’t want to stop running so I slowed down to grab a paper cup from a volunteer. Still running slowly, I took a big drink, choked on the water, spilled it all over myself, and could hardly breathe. Turns out there is a correct form for drinking and running (squeeze the paper cup in half so you can control the flow.) You also really need to be aware of the people around you, the traffic that sometimes is present, debris on the road or path to trip you up, etc.

You get the idea. Think of your Christian race just like any other running race. Instead of keeping your eyes on the road, though, keep your eyes on Jesus. Our sin, just like people, traffic, and road debris, trips us up and cause us to lose our pace. We’re going to fall if we look away from Him.

Run for Jesus with Perseverance

Like the verse says, “run with perseverance.” Be persistent in your training (prayer, study, worship), endure the hard parts of the trail, watch out for whatever causes you to stumble, and stay determined to finish the race strong.

One last illustration comes to mind. In some ways, our lives could be seen as a relay race. You have the baton, you race your portion of the track, and hand off the baton to one who is ready. We know where our finish line is and the prize we receive.

Who is on your relay team? Children? Grandchildren? Friends? Co-workers? It takes a coordinated effort and practice to pull off a relay race. Encourage your team in the Christian relay race as well. Imagine the crowd who will be cheering us on as we each step over that finish line.

One final thought- this “race” is not a competition.  We’re not running to see who can get there first, or who has the best time. It’s your life and your relationship with God. Persevere, work hard, be determined, and run.

Run to Him!



“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary.” Isaiah 40:31



Photo Credit: Canva

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