Born to Run
I’m a runner. You might even say I was born to run. Though I've run several marathons and even a few ultra-marathons, I spent most of my life either running to the bottle or running from responsibility.
Above all, despite having been graciously delivered one day from a nearly two-decades-long battle with alcoholism, I continued to run from God.
That was, however, until one cold night in January of 2009 when Jesus’ call to repent became a deafening roar; one that I could no longer run from or ignore. It was there between The Rock and a hard place (The Law) that I fell to my knees and cried out for mercy.
The Great Race
Yet, instead of treating me as my sins deserve or paying me back in full for my wrongs God showed grace and He offered me a chance to run in what would become the biggest and most important race of my life.
In his sermon Running the Race of Faith Coty Pinckney describes for me this pivotal moment in my life and what it had meant.
He said, “This is the race of faith — the most important race of your life, the race whose goal is eternal life with Christ, made perfect in him. Run your best in this race.”
And so, I signed my life away.
Upon my conversion I had suddenly become vocal about sharing my faith whereas never in a million years would I have ever dreamt that I’d be talking about Jesus let alone preaching the Gospel.
At my retirement ceremony from the Marines, about seven months after surrendering my life to Christ, I shared my faith publicly for the first time with over 100 members of my unit. From Corporals to Colonels, family and friends, I spoke to all who gathered there of what Christ had done in me.
You could say that this was the first step in a thousand-mile journey. But it didn’t end there!
Running With The Footmen
Several more speaking engagements later and years spent in various church ministries God has led me to this exciting leg of my journey with Christian Collegian Network (CCN).
As the Assistant Campus Leader for CCN at the University of Pittsburgh God is teaching me through discipleship and outreach not to become weary in running with the footmen, so to speak, that I might one day possess the necessary endurance to contend with the horses (Jer. 12:5). All for the sake of the Gospel!
Run To Win
Years ago, I recall while training for an ultra-marathon the Holy Spirit whispering three words I will not soon forget: “Run to win”.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, I would discover the embodiment of this simple yet profound phrase, one that has stuck with me all these years, and an exhortation from the Apostle to believers for generations to come.
Paul wrote: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Cor. 9:24).
It was here in Paul’s writing, much like in Pinckney’s sermon, where inspiration first gave legs to my Christian walk (or should I say run?).
An inspiration that would continually remind me to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares, but to run also with endurance the race marked out before me, toward the goal and for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Heb. 12:1; Phil.3:14).
Run to win,
Assistant Campus Leader
University of Pittsburgh