We all know the benefits of daily exercise. Some run, some walk and some do a choreographed work out of some kind. The Apostle Paul was a runner. He saw life as a race and wrote the book on running the that race. In Hebrews 12 he tells to run with patience the race set before us looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. God has called all of us to run the race of life with Jesus. Paul’s letters are full of sound advice for our race. He shows us 2 directions for our running – running from and running toward.
DON’T WALK, RUN!
From Sexual Sin
Paul exhorts us in 1 Corinthians 6:18 tells us to run from fornication. Sexuality is in Satan’s cross-hairs. He uses it to destroy the soul, the family, marriages and society. His control of the pornography industry and proliferation of on-screen sexual opportunities is turning men and women into unbridled animals who burn with sexual lust. He has ripped sex from God’s design and intended context and drags it into the mud of meaninglessness, business and partying. Paul gives us simple but clear instructions regarding fornication – Don’t walk, Run!! Run from from the thoughts, run from the web-link, run from the movie, run from the party. Run! Run! Run!
[bctt tweet=”Paul gives us simple but clear instructions regarding fornication – Don’t walk, Run!! “]
1 Cor 10:14 – Flee idolatry – Anything that is your source of meaning, value, purpose, love, security, significance is your idol.
On your face dag gone Dagon (1 Sam 5:1-4)
We must not take up an idol but rather the cross. To life it up to draw it to its rightful place in our hearts – a place of love, death to self and pouring out of life. What it took Jesus 6 hours to do for us takes a lifetime. To pour out our lives for people.
Nothing can take the place of worship, adoration, honor and love than our Savior high and lifted up from the earth on our behalf. He gives us meaning, value, purpose, love, security and significance.
From the Love of Money
1 Tim 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Only 2 gods – God or money – (Matt 6:24)
Expositor’s Commentary has this to say about the love of money…
“There is no vice more deadening to every noble and tender feeling than greed. It is capable of extinguishing all mercy, all pity, all natural affection. It can make the claims of the suffering and sorrowful, even when they are combined with those of an old friend, or a wife, or a child, fall on deaf ears. It can banish from the heart not only all love, but all shame and self-respect. What does the miser care for the miseries of outraged society, so long as he can keep his gold? There is no heartless or mean act, and very often no deed of fraud or violence, from which he will shrink in order to augment or preserve his hoards. Assuredly the Apostle is right when he calls the love of money a “root of all kinds of evil.””
From Youthful Lusts
2 Tim 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
RUNNING TOWARD – THE WHOLE OF CHRISTIAN LIFE (1 TIM 6:16, 2 TIM 2:22)
To “Follow After” in these 2 verses is the word dioko in the original Koine Greek language. The principal meaning of this word is
1) to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after
- a) to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal
- b) to pursue (in a hostile manner)
Paul therefore is giving young Timothy 7 divine pursuits of the Christian life that are to be set as the goal, run swiftly after and pursued until caught.
To the first list in First Timothy 6:16 – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness – we add peace from the second list in Second Timothy 2:22 to get the 7 things Paul advises us to run after and to catch. Oh what a pleasant pursuit!
These are not possessions we can hold with the hand but are gifts from God held in the heart.
Of the 7 things Paul tells us to follow after 6 of them are listed as fruits of the spirit but one – RIGHTEOUSNESS. The first pursuit listed in each verse is RIGHTEOUSNESS. Striving to enter into the rest of God’s righteousness has to be the first pursuit (Heb 4:10,11).
The requirement of God for all of His blessings. The status no man can achieve without God. We are being encouraged by the Apostle to run after something that is given to us as a gift.
God has designed man not to earn what he needs but to receive it. Jesus tells us in Matt 6:33 that the primary research of life is righteousness. It is the reason for which we are created. When we chase righteousness we find Jesus Christ – the righteous one. He declares His righteousness to us and then gives it to us!![bctt tweet=”God has designed man not to earn what he needs but to receive it. “]
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
So much of man’s energy is spent buying things that can’t satisfy him believing that life’s necessities are earned, bought or bartered.
God tells us to seek
Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. Matt 6:33.
God tells us to come
Is 55:1-3 1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which I’ve satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Jesus sets us free from the bondage to tilling dust with sweat on our brow. He sets us free to live with His divine attributes in our hearts. Given freely as the fruits of receiving.
The good tree that bears good fruit is us…we are God’s planting. He waters us, he gives us nutrients to grow and His Holy Spirit produces fruits from righteousness – godliness, charity, faith, patience, meekness, peace.
So fellow runners. Let’s take Paul’s sound advice. Don’t walk but Run! from fornication, idolatry, greed and youthful lusts and run after Jesus the author who gives us His righteousness as a gift and the finisher who gives us all the things along the way of the great race we are running.