While running on a treadmill one morning, I found myself focusing on the red-lettered warning on the display panel. It cautioned: To Avoid Injury: "Read Owner's Manual first; Stop if you feel faint, dizzy, or short of breath." At first they seemed unnecessary; but then it struck me: While the instructions held obvious application to my physical condition, they also held subtle application to my spiritual condition. As we run the "race marked out for us," here's how we might protect against spiritual injury.
Read Owner's Manual first. Each one of us has been wonderfully made, specially designed, and set apart for specific purposes. To best understand who we are, how we operate, and how we're to serve in the Body, we need to carefully examine the Scriptures and understand our Maker's intentions. His thoughts on us are the ones that matter in this race. If we jump into running without a clear understanding of him and his will, we risk injury to ourselves, and to those we serve.
Are you taking the warning seriously? 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the [wo]man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." How are you being equipped on a daily basis for the run ahead of you?
Stop if you feel faint. When I think of "faint" in light of my spiritual condition, I think of the strength of my heart; the ability to carry out what the Lord has called me to with courage and perseverance. When I'm faint in my faith, I might be far from the Lord and running out of my own strength. Or I might be focusing on my fears instead of taking courage in the truth of the Word, and getting very tired. This faintness or "fatigue" in the faith is a warning sign I can't afford to ignore as a leader; there's too much at stake.
Have you felt faint while running lately? Through Isaiah, we're told that those "who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint" (40:31). And through Jeremiah, we're told it is the Lord who will "refresh the weary and satisfy the faint" (31:25). How are you finding your hope and strength in him?
Stop if you feel dizzy. When I'm dizzy, I have little to no ability to see my surroundings correctly. Something is wrong with my sense of balance. And though my surroundings haven't changed, my balance issue makes it seem as though everything is spinning or moving. In this state, it's nearly impossible to stand, let alone try to continue running.