In my last post I made the comparison of running on a treadmill and running outside on a road. Both are beneficial, but they are much different. I compared these to our spiritual journey, basically saying that if we only run on a treadmill we never get the experience of running on a road with all its challenges.
I think there are great benefits to running on a treadmill. You can practice your running technique, you can keep track of you heart rate and have your time and exact mileage right in front of you. You can simulate hills and increase or decrease your speed with a push of a button.
This is just like going to church, doing a Bible Study, or taking a Bible class. We can learn the right way to live, we can learn about Jesus and the character of God. You can gain understanding of how to handle money, relationships, marriage, parenting, possessions, work and our relationship with Christ.
But what if you never go out and put this knowledge into practice? What if you always stay in your safe environment of church and just “learn more”. The danger here is that you start to think that you are better than the people out on the road. That the “world” out there is no good and not worth your efforts. That we should not be a part of the world, or get ourselves dirtied by the road. We can begin to become a little prideful and arrogant. We begin to feel safe and secure in our controlled environment.
God does not want us to live in a safe controlled environment. He is not a safe God, but He is a good God.
I believe God wants us to put what we know into action. He wants us to run in some road races, to climb some big hills and run into the wind. He wants us to run in cold weather and in the heat of the day. God wants us to get out there and make a difference. I don’t know what that looks like for you. Maybe its forgiving someone and reconciling a broken relationship. Maybe its going on a mission trip to another country. Maybe its helping and elderly person clean their house. Maybe its getting on a serving team at your church. How about increasing your giving to your church or helping out a family in need financially. It could be taking the time to start meeting with someone to mentor them and encourage them in their struggles. Our helping a single mom with diapers, food, fixing her car etc.
Start asking God how you can get out and do some mileage on the open road. Who can you reach out to and show the love of Christ too in a tangible way? When you do that you will grow by leaps and bounds. You will feel more energized and excited about making a difference. You will have some stories to share with other people. You become a road warrior.
Are you a treadmill warrior or a road warrior? I want to be a road warrior.
As some of you know, I like to run. I started last year and have been running in some local 5K’s. I am running in one this weekend in New Philadelphia. Most of the training I have been doing is running on the roads around my house. Usually between 2-5 miles at a time.
On Monday night I was working late, so I decided to run on the treadmill at work. As I started running I soon was reminded how different it is to run on a treadmill versus running outside along a road. I was in a nice air conditioned room with a big screen TV and a fan. I had a machine keeping my pace and elevation. The treadmill gave a little cushion as I ran.
When I am running outside, I have the heat and the wind to deal with. I have tar and road apples to dodge. I have hills and slopes and potholes. Running outside on a road is much different than running inside on a treadmill.
As I was thinking about all this it hit me that our spiritual life is much that way as well. If all we ever do is run on the treadmill spiritually, we never experience all that God has for us. Our treadmill can be going to church, going to Bible study or small group, even our personal devotions. All of those are helpful and good, just like running on a treadmill is helpful and good.
However, when you get out on the road and put your faith into action things are different. It gets a little messy, you have some unexpected challenges. You get stretched and uncomfortable. There are hills to climb, sometimes the wind is in your face and sometimes it is at your back. When you put what you have learned into action incredible things happen.
I believe God wants all people that consider themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ to get out and run. Be the person that makes a difference in someones life, by taking the time to do something. If each of us would do some road work every week, we could change our communities and our world.
Keep running on your treadmill, but get outside and run as well.