I am one of those people who actually likes to jog. Notice that I didn’t say I’m great at it, but I do enjoy it. Oh and by the way, I don’t have the typical physique of a jogger either.
Several years ago, I had put on some extra pounds. The idea of jogging appealed to me because I didn’t need to go to a gym. Ugh! I really, really don’t like the gym!
I started out just jogging around the block–literally. It took some time (okay a lot of time), but I built up to running several miles. With some discipline and consistency, I am still jogging today.
I have found lots of motivators to keep jogging, that is for as long as my knees will hold out. Outside of all the physical benefits that I’m sure you already know, there’s one benefit that tops them all.
You see, around the same time I took up jogging, I also took up a consistent daily prayer time. My new routine consisted of: a cup of coffee (this is a must!), a scripture reading, prayer time, and a jog. The trouble was, it’s really hard to fit all of that in before getting kids off to school. As a mom of three small children, I was all about “killing two birds with one stone.” So I took my daily prayer time on the road. It was during one of those early morning jogs that God started to teach me, bringing to life the scriptures that I had read beforehand.
I clearly remember the first “jog lesson” that God taught me. I had been reading that morning from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT.
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
While on my jog, I struggled to run up an extremely steep incline. My lungs were burning, my side was hurting and I wanted to stop. But it was there that the Holy Spirit said, “You must stay in the race in order to receive a prize.” As I pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do, another scripture came to mind from Philippians 4:13.
“I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
I meditated on that scripture with each stride.
I can do. Breathe and step.
All things. Breathe and step.
Through Christ. Breathe and step.
Who gives me strength. Breath and step.
And before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill. I was elated! Not only had I made it to the top without stopping, I had heard the voice of the Holy Spirit! I was hooked! I learned firsthand that day, God really does want to speak to us. And one of the primary ways that He will do this is through His word and prayer.
He will speak this way to anyone who is willing to put forth the effort of spending some time with Him. Yes, it does take some discipline, but it is worth it!
1 Timothy 2:15
“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and the life to come.”