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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Problem of pleasure, the will of God, and purpose

I'm eleven days, and about 56 miles in and running does allow time to reflect and pray.  A recent perk from a half-marathon I competed in this fall was 3 months free to Runner's World.  Last night I indulged and read half of December's issue.  Not surprisingly, this magazine is actually a great source of philosophical and inspirational ideas and anecdotes--runners are inspiring people.  A question often answered through Runner's World online polls, articles, and bullet statements is why people run and what makes them keep running.  What stuck out in this perusal was that only 2% of runners ran for social reasons.  Running with people is not very common.  I am this runner.  I don't run with people and my purpose in running is not to spend time with others.

Now, the "problem of pleasure," (message by Ravi Zacharias).  We as mission-minded Christians need to first know our mission, and then know what refreshes us towards that mission.  This simple idea inspired me to run so much in 2012.  Running refreshes me to love others, the Lord, and consider my specific calling towards Pro-Life work.  Write down your life mission on a single sheet of paper and know what you ought to do then you won't waste a lot of time filling the bottomless pit that is your selfish heart's desires.

The question I wrestle with is where does the will of God for us as individuals and our calling and the great problem of pleasure intersect ministry and community?  Are we to be a stream-lined body of believers that our pleasures should look quite similar (listening to Francis Chan sermons, singing cheesy country songs in the car, running marathons, praying at abortion clinics)?  Where is the wall we can rebuild together (Nehemiah 1)?

I don't think any runner or Christian would be as bold to say, "It is better done alone."  But for runners and most Christians it simply is done alone (e.g. Miciah in 1 Kings 22 one of 400 to be faithful; Paul's persistent struggle and singularity in passion; John on Patmos--the only man to see this vision).

I don't want to run alone but the reality is that I will be getting up at 5:15 a.m. most mornings this year and running six miles because this is how I am refreshed to pray for Blueridge, how I commune with the Spirit as I listen to the Bible on my ipod, and remain strong for this academic season.  The problem is I cannot really be at Blueridge when they're open--I am in class.  Oh, but I can pray!

So, I run with Jesus, the endless well of community and joy knowing that the together promise is only as far away as my death.

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