Friday, December 18, 2009


For the past few months, my roommate (not the guy in the picture) has been training to run marathons. He ran the San Antonio half-marathon, now he is training to run the full Austin marathon in February. I started the training for a half about this time last year, but I sprained my ankle with not enough time to recover and prepare for the race.

It seems to me that training for a marathon brings with it a whole host of difficulty. It is not just the difficulty of completing the training (which can be complicated by weather, especially this time of year), it is also dealing with the pains and injuries that accompany such a task. Although he has not encountered a significant injury like a sprain, he has had sore feet, chins, back, and legs. We went to 3 stores before we could find a strap that is supposed to hold his knee in place during long runs.

Overall, it just seems like the body is not made for such abuse. Although it is made for a significant amount of physical exercise, it seems like marathon-type distances are in excess to it’s normal functions. I guess that is why comparatively few people run marathons. It takes a lot of determination. I still want to do it someday, may be next year.

In I Corinthians, Paul compares spiritual striving to physical training. He says that he runs in such a way to win the prize. He works his body into doing that which is not natural, ignoring it’s aches and pains. He has an all-encompassing purpose, to live as Christ lived.

I often wonder what it would look like if Christian people started to treat our spirituality in such a way? What if we broke a sweat trying to force our weak flesh into better service to God? It seems that many of us are like me, once sidelined by a sprain and unwilling to return to action. What would it look like for you to beat your spiritually weak flesh into submission? How would life be different?

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