Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm Not a Runner

Luke 9:23 has been pressing on my heart lately.  In this verse, Jesus extends an invitation to follow him.

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

This means I must empty myself of me and fill myself with the Holy Spirit.  In the Old Testament, God is with us but, in the New Testament, God is in us. 

“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will end him to you.” (John 16:7)

Jesus had to leave this Earth so that God could be in us.

And now the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives in us.  How amazing is that?!

Jesus tells us to take up our cross daily and follow him.  The cross was a symbol of humiliation, suffering and death.  By agreeing to take up our cross we are agreeing to die daily.  Each day I must die to myself so that I can be filled with the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is what gives me strength to get through each and every day.

So what does it look like to die daily?  Good question.  I’ve been wondering myself how can I totally rid me of myself each day so that I can find true life?  I think a good way to start each day is by filling myself with the Holy Spirit so I wanted it to be something I did first thing in the morning.  I wanted time for just God and me; a time I knew no one else would bother me.  That time is sunrise. The birth of each day is the death of me, and my decision to let go of control so I can be filled with the Spirit.  

To me dying daily sounds like torture.  So, for me dying daily is running at sunrise and spending time with God before, during and after my run.  Running is not a favorite past time for me.  It takes effort that I don’t always want to put forth.  I like to stay in shape but I’d much rather attend a group exercise class or work on strength training.  Alone I wouldn’t be able to get up each morning and run…I wouldn’t run more than 1 mile for myself but for Him I’d run an endless distance.  This is how I empty myself of me each day..I run.   Truthfully at the end of most of my runs I’m absolutely exhausted—my muscles ache but it’s worth it.  It’s worth it, because as I experience exhaustion I also feel relaxed and free.  Free to start my day filled with God in me :)  I wouldn’t be able to do this without Him.

This was in my devotional the morning after my first run.

God’s word for you today:  Your worst day with God will be better than your best day without Him.  The Holy Spirit is here to speak to you and help you in every way you need help today.

I wasn’t expecting this at all but it couldn’t have been more perfect :)  Moments like these increase my faith exponentially.

My runs are getting easier and definitely more enjoyable than when I first started.  I’ve also noticed that I’m genuinely in a better mood each day I run.  It is so uplifting.. I now understand that dying to myself is the secret to really living.   

Through death, the cross that represented guilt, condemnation, suffering, and death now represents grace, freedom, hope, and life. 
My prayer is that we will take up our cross and die daily.  I believe it’s the only way to really follow Jesus. 



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