I Hate Running

by Rob Tims

I hate running.

Not because I don’t dig the shorts.

Not because I don’t want the leg strength and amazing benefits from the cardio.

I just hate running. I feel terrible when I run.

And yet it seems that running is all the rage where I live. Every day I see someone driving … presumably to or from the gym … with a sticker on their rear window letting me know the maximum number of miles they’ve run in some race.

13.1

26.2

And the truly obnoxious 140.6

I so loathe this pretentious display of personal achievement that I put a sticker on my minivan. It says “0.0.”

And yet there are some for which I will quickly and heartily run. Is the “Hot Now” light on? Is that an angry black bear? Get out of my way. Catch me if you can.

Apparently, I am great at running as long as I’m motivated for reasons that are near and dear to my heart.

Which leads me to 1 Timothy 6:1.

But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.

Paul admonishes me to run from evil with all the enthusiasm and zeal I can muster. The recognition of evil and it’s potential in my life must be a strong motivator for me to run away from it as rapidly as possible.

But inasmuch as my hatred for evil should fuel my running from it, I am also to be motivated by that which I run toward: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness.

In other words, if I want to be a good spiritual runner, I must keep in mind that I am constantly fleeing evil and that I am pursuing its counterparts. As John Stott puts it, “We have to give our mind, time and energy to both flight and pursuit. Once we see evil as the evil it is, we will want to flee from it, and once we see goodness as the good it is, we will want to pursue it.”

You can see the physical effects on a runner, especially those that compete frequently. Let’s just say that marathon Olympians are not known for their wide girth. Likewise, you know a good spiritual runner when you see one. They are keen on evil and driven to live as far from it as possible, yet they are not merely fleeing evil in any other direction. Their eye is on another prize: holiness. Oh that we would be characterized as triumphant spiritual runners.

Only without some obnoxious sticker on our rear windows to prove it.

Rob Tims is husband to Holly and father to Trey, Jono, Abby Jane and Luke. He’s the author of Southern Fried Faith: Confusing Christ and Culture in the Bible Belt, and manages the team behind smallgroup.com at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville. He writes regularly at RobTims.com and blogs every Friday at Forward Progress.

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