The Parallels of a Christian Runner: Part 3

Running is better with a buddy

This could be a matter of opinion. Maybe there are some lone runners out there that have no interest in having a buddy. My running began with a buddy and I miss my running companions. I think that is what has made getting back on the wagon so difficult. I’m always running alone. :tear: When I first was introduced to running it was quite a pathetic sight. I could barely make it half a mile. I cramped, I ached, I couldn’t breathe. It was super hard and of course the weakling in me was tempted to quit. But I didn’t and that was large in part because I had a buddy cheering me on, believing in me, and picking me up when I was down. I never actually fell but having buckled so far over with stiches in my side, I might as well have been on the ground. Not only did having someone to run with keep me from giving up altogether, but we would hold each other accountable and challenge each other to set goals and meet them. Not to mention simply enjoying each other’s company. Eventually I got comfortable enough that I could even hold conversations during some of the runs, yay! Yes, having a buddy is good.

There are two things I’d like to draw from this parallel.

1. We need fellow believers alongside us in this Christian race.

You’ll notice throughout the New Testament believers were often sent to each other to bring encouragement. Paul, Peter, Timothy, Judas, Silas, Titus, and more, continually went and even stayed lengths of time to build up fellow Christians.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 “We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith…”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” It even goes on to say in verse 14 “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

Romans 1:11&12 “I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to make you strong- that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.”

I love that. The gift is mutual encouragement in faith.

We need each other not just for encouragement but also for our training. I didn’t have a CLUE about running when I started. Yeah it seems like a pretty simple sport, find a place to run and run. Maybe I’m special. But it wasn’t that simple for me. I needed help, information, correction, the whole gamut. Everything from picking out shoes to hydration and pacing myself so I wouldn’t pass out. This was where my more knowledgeable buddy came in to save the day. Which brings me to my second point in this parallel. Have you figured it out?? 🙂

2. We should be making disciples.

Because when you love something, you want other people to know about it right? My friend loved running way before I did. And so she naturally talked about it and got me curious and before I knew it, BAM! Half marathon. Whaaaat?!? Me? No.way. But alas, it’s true. All because someone else took the time to pour into me, help train me, and give me a vision for something I may have never experienced had it not been for her sharing something she loved. And I’m sure it wasn’t always the most fun thing to do, slowing down for me, sacrificing her runs to run with me, and answering all my endless questions. But she did it and I’m grateful.

Brothers and sisters, we are commanded, as in not an option, to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 Not only is disciple making a command but it’s also a sign of growth and maturity. Hebrews 5:12 “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word.” Did you catch that? We ought to be teaching. But oh how we complicate this. It doesn’t have to be this formal thing and you don’t have to be an expert theologian. Just a student of the Word that has fallen in love with Jesus. Like my friend, you joyfully share what you love and are learning (and especially how you’ve learned how much Jesus loves you and them) and be ready to welcome aboard whoever is willing to train with you.

“Most of the time God strengthens our faith through another person. Eternal security is a community project.” John Piper

So, who are your buddies? Do you have someone you run with? Someone you’ve given permission to hold you accountable and correct you if necessary? Someone who is challenging you and encouraging your continued growth in Christ? And are you looking for someone to share the love of Christ with? Someone you can disciple? If you don’t have one of these or either begin praying God would send you someone. And then be ready with your eyes open, because he won’t delay. 😉

Planetshakers: This is Our Time

If you missed the first two parallels, check them out here and here.

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