There I was Christmas morning holding a brand new pair of New Balance jogging shoes—a Christmas gift from my family. They are awesome, but I’m still not sure how to feel about them. For several days now they have looked beautiful. A few times I’ve actually carried them around the house, feeling good about having them. They have produced a mixture of emotions and feelings since I opened them. For one thing, I’m am grateful for the thought and love behind them. Secondly, I realize they are really good shoes. It’s actually using them for their intended purpose that I’m having a tough time with.

Maybe as you stare at this new year you feel the same way I feel about those shoes—you’re thankful for it and excited about it, but at the same time just not sure you are ready for it! Before we know it, we will be off and running our race and be half way through 2009. While I’m not sure how much I love jogging, I do truly love a new year. To me, it represents a gift from God to start fresh and to anticipate a new opportunity to serve God with my time, my life, and my resources.

This past week, in preparing for the Sunday morning message, the Lord really challenged me personally about preparing for the new year. Every time I saw those jogging shoes I thought of the race that God has called me to run as we turn the calendar page to 2009. The text for the message was Hebrews 12:1-2 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The Lord used this passage to challenge me to “don my running shoes” spiritually speaking. He has called me to run a very set course at a steady pace that leads to a Christ-honoring destination. He reminded me that Christ has run before me and He is the author and finisher of this race. He reminded me that He is with me. He reminded me, in the face of uncertainty and cultural change, He is the goal—the person that I am to pursue with all of my heart and strength.

As a result of that personal study, I emerged with a greater anticipation for my race ahead. I truly am looking forward to running the race with patience.

I’m not so sure about jogging in those New Balance shoes, but I am sure that I want to faithfully run my spiritual race for the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray you desire to do the same! May God bless you as you run your race for Him in 2009!

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