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“The Shape You’re In”


A couple weeks ago, I started the slow slog toward getting back in shape. The picture below was taken not-so-many years ago when I was racing with Team GodSpeed, and came in third in my age group at the Long Course National Duathlon Championship. Sometime after that, life got in the way of training, and as time commitments and priorities shifted, so did my waistline (did I mention that my other hobby is cooking?). Thirty pounds later, I don’t recognize the person in the mirror. I’m not who I want to be, and I’m determined to do something about it. But it won’t be easy. And when I fail in some small way, the temptation will be to say, “why bother?” and give up, rather than taking that next step.


So it is with my life as a disciple of Jesus. When I’m in good shape spiritually, the temptation is to get puffed up with pride, as though I were able to live the Christian life by my own effort. And when I fail, there is the temptation to despair and settle for less than the Lord wants me to be and to do.

So I need a preacher.  A preacher who will relentlessly proclaim God’s redeeming, sanctifying grace. I need a community, too.  A community of friends and mentors and coaches and fellow disciples who will remind me about the freedom and deliverance that are mine as a baptized child of God. In a community like that, all of us might come to realize that we’re in pretty good shape, for the shape we’re in. And living forgiven, we might actually stop measuring and comparing and evaluating ourselves long enough to relax and simply take that next step with Jesus. And enjoy the journey. And trust Him for the outcome.


I can’t think right now about doing another race that involves 19.5 miles of running and 56 miles of cycling (especially since I’m winded and sweaty from carrying the groceries in from the car). But it might be nice to lace up the Nike’s and take a jaunt through ththe neighborhood, paying less attention to time splits and more to the wind on my face and the Spirit at my back. It might be nice to take a spin through the park, emptying my mind and letting go the day’s anxieties, so that I can be open to what the Lord might be saying. In fact, I think I’ll bring a friend, so that when we’re slogging up that long hill with our legs on fire, we can encourage one another. And then share the shear joy of effortlessly coasting down the other side.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  – Hebrews 12:1-3


One Comment leave one →
  1. 11May2012 13:01

    You can do it, Jeff! Then we will have a friendly 800 meter race, okay? LOL Just kidding, I’m just a girl!

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