Thursday, December 15, 2011

Runners and Soldiers

Scripture portrays life as a follower of Jesus as running a race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5:7, and Hebrews 12:1, we are told to run a good race with discipline and perseverance. Alan Knox has a post on his blog titled, "It's a long, hard road, but we're running together," in which he writes about a group he is a part of that runs trails together. In this post, Alan tells how each member of the group watches out for each other member as they navigate the hazards of running trails. There are roots and rocks that can trip an unsuspecting runner, and the results can be painful or catastrophic. Since trail running can be so dangerous when done alone, running in a group is a necessity. Alan writes of a runner in their group who had knee problems and at one point needed to walk. The entire group walked with her rather than leave her behind.

We are also given the picture in the Bible of being a soldier. Philippians 2:25, 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4, and Philemon 1:2 speak of being a soldier and Romans 13:12 and Ephesians 6:10-13 exhort us to put on our armor. A characteristic of a good army is that they do not leave any of their number behind. Men will risk their own lives to rescue a fallen comrade and bring him back to their lines. When soldiers go to war, they have to know that the person fighting alongside them will give up their lives for them if need be. On the flip side of this, the Church has been called the only army that shoots its own wounded. This should never be.

In our fellowships, we need to remember that God brings people into our lives for a reason. They are there for us to serve them and be a blessing to them, or for us to be served and blessed by them. We are in this race, this war together. We are all at different stages in our spiritual journey. All of us are wounded, some more than others. Some can run a long time at a sprint, while others tire easily and have to walk a lot. Sometimes those who can run faster and longer must adjust their pace to stay with the walkers. Sometimes we may be called on to sacrifice ourselves in order to rescue a fallen brother or sister. Jesus said that the greatest love we could have is the love that causes us to lay down our lives.

We must walk this walk, run this race, fight this war together. If we don't we give our enemy a foothold to steal, kill, and destroy, and we fail to show the world what God's love is truly like. God help us to live in love for each other.

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