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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Running Uphill

"But thanks be to God, who gives the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore...be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord , your labor is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

Running is not something that I have always enjoyed doing.  Now, I do enjoying beginning a run and I definitely enjoy finishing a run.  It's all the running in between the start and the stop that begins to wear me down!  One of the areas within running that is a struggle to me, and most people I'm sure, is running on an incline.  When I was stationed outside of Washington, DC in the United States Army, we would routinely run through the historic Arlington National Cemetery, which was attached to our base.  We would run early and the run would be a minimum of four miles.  There were hills that went up and those that took us back down.  It was very solemn and in many ways, enjoyable.

As we reentered the base, we found ourselves at the very bottom of a very large hill.  The hill was daunting.  We had already run almost four miles, and we were tired.  I was tired!  Quitting was the most attractive ideas I could come up with at the time.  Being in a military unit, we ran as a unit in formation and repeated a cadence that was called by the platoon sergeant.  As we approached the hill, he spoke words that would prove to be vital in my reaching the top of that hill.  He would say, "Don't look at the hill.  Stay focused on what's right ahead of you.  Breathe.  Don't repeat cadence.  Be silent and listen to my voice.  As he called cadence, he would include encouragement.  "You can do this 2, 3, 4.  Pick it up 2, 3, 4.  Don't give up 2, 3, 4.  Almost there 2, 3, 4."  Before I realized it, the run became easier because I was now at the top of the hill.  I had made it.  I didn't give into my feelings or to the voices running rampant in my mind.  I listened to the voice of my leader.  He didn't fail me.

How easy it is to get side-tracked on the journey we travel.  We become distracted with the nagging thoughts that remind us how hard it is, or how much easier it would be to do something else.  There is a strategy by the enemy of our souls to use whatever mechanism available to knock us off the straight and narrow.  He uses our emotions, our mind, our disappointments, and our discouragement.  But through Him who gives victory, we can endure.  Victory does not have to be a specific time, place, or even.  We are intended do live victory in everyday life, and applying victory-sustaining principles to every part of life.

Never forget.  You have victory in Jesus and through the powerful work that Jesus completed on the cross.  You are not who your thoughts try to convince you that you are.  You are not a quitter.  You are not useless.  You are not beyond hope.  In Christ, you are more than a conqueror, steadfast, immovable, and abounding in the work He has called you to.  There will be many days where the uphill climb is all you seem to face.  Don't become discouraged by the hill in front of you.  Listen to God.  He's speaking a cadence of encouragement over your life.  Focus on His voice.  He will lead you.  By the grace of God, you will live in the victory that He has already purchased.  You will begin to know that you are what you are - you are His.

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