Wednesday, April 19, 2017

My Running Days Are Over.....

Just finished an early morning walk.
About 8 months left knee began to complain rather loudly that he had done enough... the Dr called it 'arthritis' and his only advice was to 'man up'.
It got really bad for a while- I was having an 8 or 9 pain level at the end of each work day. But with some therapy, changing to walking, new shoes, taking anti-inflammatories I now go through a day and not notice it much. I also took the synvisc shot in December and it seems to have helped.
There are great benefits for walking. I have sought out some Biblical motivation to help me adjust.
[1] Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. [2] For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. [3] For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; [4] that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, [5] not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God;
(1 Thessalonians 4:1-5 ESV)
[6] Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, [7] rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
(Colossians 2:6-7 ESV)
 I DO MISS MY RUNNING.. but this is God's way for me right now...
They tell me that a brisk walk and a run for the same distance… burns VERY CLOSE to the same calories?  The variable is time. I average about 9:30 a mile when I am jogging and I hike a mile in around 20 minutes- but both of those burn about the SAME number of calories.
But in many ways- WALKING IS the better exercise. It is good on the joints and it allows an opportunity to OBSERVE and ENJOY the beauty of the journey.
And ‘walking’ is the preferred analogy in the Scriptures to define the Christian life. The verses at the beginning of this post show an example of this. In fact, the walk we are in is the BEST indicator of whether we actually know Christ.
Look at what the apostle John wrote:
[5] This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. [6] If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  (1 John 1:5-6 ESV)
Walking is a continued path… a habit… a trend… it makes a worn path or trail. If we look back at the recent ‘trail’ of our life and it is always ‘darkness’, what fruit do we have that supports what our lips may proclaim?
John gives us the positive picture of this as well:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 ESV)
What does the pattern of our ‘walk’ say about the condition of our heart?
To be clear- (And John balances this out BEAUTIFULLY in 1 John)- this does not mean we walk WITHOUT SINNING- but it is referring to the PATTERN or TREND.
And we can walk LONGER. Are you tired from running? Take a few days and change the routine. Go on a brisk walk… or ride a bicycle.. or swim… just keep moving!
So what does a HOLY WALK… look like?
  • It is a path illuminated by God’s word- ‘a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path’’ (Psalm 119:105)
  • It is a walk characterized by HOLY choices- putting off sin and putting on righteousness
  • It is a humble walk- not in our will and power- but according to HIS will and power
  • It is a loving and serving walk where we love God BY loving others
  • It is a walk under the yoke of Christ- who is gentle and easy for us
  • It is an upward climb with joy toward the heavenly Mount Zion and the New Jerusalem
  • It is a walk of change- progress- when we look back we are not what we used to be
  • It is a walk forward- we still have room to get better- we are not what we ought to be
  • It is slow enough to enjoy the journey and steady enough to keep going in the storms
  • It is a walk on our knees in prayer
  • It is a walk with our hands lifted in praise and thanksgiving
  • It is a walk in the full armor of God (Eph. 6)
  • It is a walk through the valley of the shadow of death with peace and comfort
  • It is a walk of glorious light
  • It is a walk that PLEASES GOD, we can feel His smile and delight
What a walk it is!!!…………. Praise HIM!
Let’s keep moving, even today!


fivemcclungs said...

Sorry to hear about your knee Jay. There may be another spiritual lesson from your knee story. I look at it like this. You should be able to run, but something is keeping you from running (knee pain). You've tried to get back to running (the standard) with available remedies (shots, therapy?, rest, medication, prayer, etc.). It isn't working. Now you're down to walking and managing the pain. It's become the new normal. But let's say that something happens to your ankle (as it did to me running cross country with my son several weeks ago), and now you can't walk at all. That becomes the new normal and the standard that was there (walking) is now changed to swimming or upper body work because walking won't work.

When John wrote his letter in 1 John, there was a new "standard" available to all men through Christ's death and resurrection. That standard was that sin could be completely overcome by entering into the power of his suffering by faith. The entire point of 1 John 1 was to get to 1 John 2:1 "I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin" and 2:5-6 "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." And how did He walk? Sinless. Perfect. John wasn't the only one proclaiming this.

Peter also clearly states in 1 Peter 4:1 "Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin." The suffering we're to enter into to cease from sin isn't knee pain obviously. Peter even states even more emphatically in 2:21,22 that this is the very thing we are to enter into: "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth;".

But what about Paul? His statement in Romans 7:23-25 would indicate that no one can cease from sin in this life:

"but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin."

Just like John's and Peter's letter, we'll miss the whole point of His death if we don't continue reading. That's where Roman's 8 comes in "For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." Roman's 7 is Paul looking back on his life. Roman's 8 is were he is presently in his walk. This lines up with both John and Peter's statements.

Why then does no Christian anywhere teach that sin can be completely overcome in this life and one can walk in perfect obedience? Because there has been an abandonment of faith in the power of His death to produce exactly what it was set out to produce...making us like Him. This abandonment or apostasy was prophecied in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

We should be "holy runners", all of us. But sin, Satan and death, the enemies of all of God's creation, keep us from "running" as He runs--perfect, spotless, in full union with the Father. Some of us are "walking" some "crawling" and others writhing around on the dirt in pain. None of this is "normal" Christianity. He's made a way for us to run again like Him, with Him in this realm through the suffering He's already accomplished on the cross.


fivemcclungs said...

I forgot to mention several other authors take on perfection:

James: "And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:4)

Jude: "Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy" (Jude verse 24)

And all the authors of Hebrews.