Sunday morning is usually long run day and today was no exception, as I had a moderate pace long run of 14 – 15 miles @ 7:30 to 8:00 minute pace on the schedule. I decided to call it a day at 14, as I was feeling good, but starting to get a little fatigued. I didn’t want to push myself too hard just for the sake of getting one more mile in.
We had a good turnout this morning and everyone left super sweaty, but feeling happy thanks to the endorphins, the cold fountain and the coffee that was consumed afterwards.
I love my sweet running friends!
After our run, Daniel and I headed to church for the second week of our study on Ephesians. We looked at the first half of chapter 2 today. Here are a few of my takeaways:
- To understand our identity in Christ, we must also understand our identity apart from Christ. Paul uses contrast in the first few verses to remind us of who we were before we were living in Christ. We were dead and sinful, living according to our own fleshly, worldly desires.
- We were dead to sin, but God made us alive and His amazing grace saved us. Grace is a gift. Ephesians 2:9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
- It can be hard for us, as human beings, to fully grasp this amazing gift because we are used to thinking in terms of transactions, where something is exchanged on both sides. But this is not an exchange, as that would nullify the concept of the “gift.”
- Grace is the unmerited, undeserved favor of God.
- Mercy is not getting something that you deserve, but grace is getting something that you don’t deserve.
- We are saved for something. We are saved to do something. We are saved to do His work, but we do not have to do work to get saved. We don’t work to get God’s grace, but we work because of God’s grace. Grace should color everything that you do. Everything that we do in Christ, for Christ and like Christ becomes sacred, no matter how mundane the task may seem.
- The lyrics to Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Do Everything” are a good representation of this.
- The first thing that we see God do in the Bible is work. Work is not a necessary evil, but a gift of God’s grace and a mark of God’s image in us.
I had been reflecting over the past day or two about my blog and what, if anything, I was accomplishing by continuing to write it. The message today was the perfect thing for me to hear (isn’t it cool how God does that). Hopefully I have adequately articulated here that I want my life and my running to bring glory to God and tell the story of His grace poured out into my life. While the majority of my posts may be about running, I feel like that is potentially my biggest platform to reach people. It is something that I am passionate about and is a huge part of my life and my “story.” I felt God’s encouragement today to continue “working” on the blog.
While this wasn’t a part of the sermon, I couldn’t help but think of Colossians 3:23 which says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” I have always used this verse as encouragement to get me through the 60 and 70 hour weeks of tax season, but I realize even more so now that the word “work” here doesn’t just refer to what you and I would typically think of as work (i. e., our jobs/occupations). It means that everything in your life should be done for the Lord. As long as we are living here on this earth, we are here for a reason. God is using us to do great work for His kingdom. Obviously, we don’t know exactly how this will play out in our lives, but God surely does. I encourage all of you to pray and ask God what he is calling you to do and I pray that we would all have open ears to listen and receive His word, and that we would be obedient to follow through.
And to tie this back into running, I can’t help but think of this famous quote by Steve Prefontaine.
“Pre” was an American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics and once held the American record in seven different distance track events from the 2K to the 10K. While I am fairly certain, he is not referring to the ultimate “gift” (he could be, I don’t really know) and whether he meant it this way or not, he is saying to get out there and work hard, using whatever talents that God gave you to make a difference in the world.
That’s all I’ve got for now. I am going to go be obedient to His calling to “rest.” 🙂 What does He want you to do today?