Layers

4 02 2011

It is a very chilly morning. Wrapping up for a pre-dawn walk, I put layers on to keep warm. Experience has taught me that one big coat isn’t the answer. The best way to fight the wintry temperatures is to dress in layers – shirt, polar fleece, and a wind breaker.

Each piece of clothing has a purpose. I wear a long-sleeved running shirt designed to breathe and wick away moisture. The polar fleece is the heater. It traps body heat and insulates against the cold. The wind breaker does what its name implies – it keeps the cold wind out and the warmth in. Together they provide everything I need to brave the elements. Each one by itself would be helpful, but not enough. Warmth and protection are best found in layering the different pieces.

As I was walking this morning, I thought about how the necessity for layers runs deeper than the physical. How much better would I fare in my day if I took the time and thought to dress my soul in layers of prayer, study, and worship? Investing my heart in prayer invites God into my day. It opens my eyes to His presence, humbles my heart, aligns my perspective, and allows me to release the cares and concerns that tend to weigh me down. Study focuses my mind on the purpose for which God draws me near to Himself. Spending time in His Word reminds me of His great love, the power He is willing to pour into my day, and the path He wants me to walk. Worship lifts my eyes, energizes my soul, refreshes my spirit, and connects my heart to His. Each one is wonderful, but it is in layering them that I am able to face the elements in the world.

My Jesus Resolution today is to dress in layers. I am going to take time to pray – for my day, for my family and friends, and for the image of Jesus to take full shape in my life. I am going to open my Bible and fill my heart with His Word. I am going to turn my focus to worship, allowing praise to shape the way I think, see, and talk today. I am going to put them all on and experience the warmth that comes from covering myself completely in Him.





Marathons

2 02 2011

The papers are full of pictures. For days, the news has been running stories, making predictions, and spotlighting people who run. Advice is given about training, loading up on carbs, and the best shoes to wear. People on Facebook have been talking about it for weeks – who’s running, who’s preparing, who’s given up, and who’s shaking their head in disbelief.

It is marathon time. Marathons are long races. Twenty-six point two miles of sheer endurance. Marathons require a commitment beyond the moment. It takes preparation, planning, training, and focus to run a marathon. No one runs a marathon by accident. No one breaks the tape in a marathon without a will to finish what they have begun.

Marathons are great pictures of life. A life of significance doesn’t happen by accident. A life invested in Christ requires discipline, focus, training, and will. It requires taking on the identity of a runner, choosing the running lifestyle, and actually getting out there and running.

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

Life is a race. Some run the race in order to win something perishable – money, power, fame, friends, education, popularity, or possessions. When we run in Christ, we have a clear picture of the finish line. Seeing His face is our greatest prize. He provides us with companions to run with us along the way. The Holy Spirit serves as our Trainer and Coach. Some days it is easy to run. Other days we can hardly find the strength to put on our shoes. But marathons aren’t won or lost in a single day. Marathons are won by the consistent, daily choice to make running well a goal.

My Jesus Resolution today is to run well. I am going to find joy in running with those who point me to Jesus. I am going to be thankful for the way each step brings me closer to His heart. I don’t want to get caught up in running for a prize that isn’t worth the race. I want to remember why I am running. He will be there when I cross the finish line to welcome me home and say, “Well done.”