Faith and Running
I have been a Christian for all of my life, but I started calling myself a runner two years ago. While I was surviving a run in Virginia’s summertime humidity, I realized my experiences with running echo the lessons I have learned as a Christian. Suddenly, those two parts of me began to blend together and started to show me which aspects of running and faith connect.
Running and faith involve action and a title. The action of running makes me a runner - even though I may not be fast or go very far. Even though I walk often, I still claim the identity as runner. A similar thing happens with faith. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the action that redeemed us to God. We have to take action and accept that truth to claim that identity as a Christian.
Running, like faith, is not always easy. No one wakes up with the ability to run a marathon or even a mile. It takes determination and effort. It can be difficult to keep our faith when life challenges us. Yet, we must cling fast and continue to grow stronger. We can strengthen our faith and we can improve our running time. We can trust God to sustain us when we are weak physically and emotionally. In the difficult times, we can declare, “my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26, English Standard Version)
Runners are vocal about running. There’s a joke that you can tell someone is a runner by how often they talk about their next race. The level of sharing about running depends on the person, but for Christians it should be a significant marker. We need to be vocal about our faith and what we are doing. Actions show our beliefs, and so do our words. Others can see us “running our faith” by going to church or serving others. We are also called to share the good news. Saying “I’m a runner” or “I’m training for this event” should be just as natural as saying “I’m a Christian” or “I learned this at church.”
Runners are a community and believers are a family. The running community is competitive, but also supportive. Most runners are helpful and supportive – and then there are people cheering along the sidelines and at the finish line. Runners all around the world are united by the sport and that common ground. Christians have a faith that binds together brothers and sisters from all countries.
Hebrews uses running as an example and reminder of endurance in faith. The text says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the same, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV)
We can honor him in running and in all that we do – in fact, I encourage you to look for commonalities between your favorite activities and your faith. God is with us whether we are running or walking. We may be surprised at how far we can run and how strong our faith can grow…we just need to be willing to lace up and go.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.