It happened slowly…

It happened slowly. First it was just a taste… a sliver, then what started out as a bite became several mouthfuls. That’s what happened during the days between Christmas and New Year Day. Not only did I eat things I vowed not to eat, but I didn’t work out like I should have. I fell behind on my exercises and I gained some weight.

Now I am trying hard to get back to the point of where I was before Christmas.

As I was running today, I realized that what I was doing should have been done all along, and not because the “big run” is in two weeks.

I should have been well prepared so that I could run a half marathon tomorrow; instead, I was eating like a glutton and wallowing around like a sloth. I think the same thing can happen with our spiritual life.

In Matthew 24:38-39 and 44, it says, “In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes… You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (NLT).

I am scrambling right now to increase my endurance because of my upcoming run, and in the same way if people knew when Jesus was coming back, I think more people would be scrambling to read the Bible and to study His Word.

“All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should…” (1 Cor 9:25-27).

Running is hard, and studying the Bible can be hard too but we should discipline ourselves to do this. I need to be physically fit now so that I can run a race today; and I need to be spiritually fit today so that I can be ready for Christ’s return.

I need to train myself to read God’s Word the same way I am training myself for a run—with intentionality and determination.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Run with a purpose

For a while now I have known about my first half marathon run in January but I did not train for it like I should have. After getting back from my vacation in late October, it was difficult for me to get back into a routine.

I should have taken my training more seriously months ago—even training during my vacation, but I kept thinking that January was so far away and that I had a lot of time to prepare for it. Now we are nearing the end of November, which means that I only have a month and a half to train.

I thought about the Scripture verses that referenced running and training:

1 Corinthians 9:25-27, “All athletes are disciplined in their training… So I run with purpose in every step… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”

Hebrews 12:1, “…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”

Many times I do not take my spiritual training very seriously. I am lax in my Bible reading and prayer because I get busy with other things.

I am pressured to push myself and run now even when I don’t feel like running because I know when my race will take place, but I think I am not as serious in my spiritual training because there is no set day when Jesus will return:

“…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him… Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:44, 42).

I think I have to change my mindset—I’m not just training for Christ’s return, I am currently in the race—I am being timed and I need to  finish strong.

Every waking moment is time on the spiritual track and I can’t stop or quit—I have to keep running. I now have a different understanding of Isaiah 40:28-31,

“The Lord is the everlasting God… He will not grow tired or weary… He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength… they will run and not grow weary.”

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Get back in the race!

My husband and I will be running in the “Redlegs Run” this Saturday. My goal is to run it in 30 minutes or less. Today I worked on my running speed, and I was able to run a mile in 9:46 minutes. I struggled the other two miles, but I was able to complete 3.1 miles in 29.40 minutes. I’m not sure if I will do as well in the “real” run, but I’m just happy that I am constantly improving, and I can see how I am progressing.

I thought about the Christian life and how it relates to running or training for a run; in fact, the running analogy is used several times in the Bible—Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Philippians 3:14, and 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Just as I have to push myself to increase my speed or distance, in the same way, we have to put effort into our own spiritual growth. We can’t expect to grow if we don’t read the Bible, go to worship, or study the Word.

Sometimes I have a terrible run and even though I may feel like giving up, I push forward.  I think we experience the same thing in the Christian life— sometimes our spiritual life (or even life in general) can be “dry” but we need to keep reading, praying, and studying. I think when we stop reading the Bible, studying His Word, or praying then we start losing the momentum we had gained.

When I started to run again after I had stopped running for nearly three weeks because of a pulled hamstring muscle, it was like I was training from the very beginning—running slowly and running only a short distance. Even though I was very frustrated, I kept going.

If you’ve slowly “fallen away” from worship, Bible reading, and prayer, then don’t quit—get back in the race and keep going. Remember, all that matters is that you finish the race.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Be prepared

I ran the farthest today than I had ever ran before—8.25 miles. This was not an easy feat for me— I remember when I could barely run a mile. My training had not been very consistent in the past.  I would run for a while and make some progress, but then I would slowly stop running.

It made me think about my Christian walk. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 19-years-old. Even though I had some periods of growth, I also had years of stagnation. Even though I had recommitted my life several years after professing Jesus, I went back to reading the Bible sporadically, praying occasionally, and going to church only on Sunday mornings.

It took a scary dream for me to realize that all those things (church services, regular Bible reading, and daily prayer) are a form of training for Christians. I need to read the Bible, pray, and go to church services on Sunday and Wednesday nights because they will help me to prepare for spiritual attacks.

The apostle Paul stresses to us, “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm” (Ephesians 6:11-13, NLT).

Just like I have to keep up with my running in order to prepare for another race, I have to keep up with the things that make me a stronger Christian so that I can be spiritually prepared for any possible attacks. What about you—are you prepared?

 

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Training

Some days are better than others—I had a great work out a couple of days ago (7.2 miles in 77:16 min—6.2 miles in 67:53 min), but it was very different today. I forced myself to work out but I struggled the whole time. I was so exhausted (I need to sleep before midnight). Sometimes we just have to be diligent when we are training—training for a run or training in godliness. I could have just stopped my work out early but what good is that?

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The Bible reminds me that I need to keep pressing on even when I want to give up—“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on… I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing… looking forward… I press on to reach the end of the race…” (Phil 3:12-14, NLT).

On the same note, when I get tired and feel like I should skip reading the Bible for the day, I need to think about these Scripture verses because it tells me to keep going.  What kind of a Christian would I be if I skipped my biblical training whenever I felt tired?

Resolutions

Like most people, I made a resolution this year, to train for a 10K run. There’s one coming up in May.  I was making great progress several months ago, but I couldn’t seem to get back into running when we came back from Nepal in October. So far, I am able to run/jog/fast walk 6.3 miles.

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I could probably train every day, for hours, but in the end I would be training for an event that lasts for only a few minutes. If people are willing to train for something like a 5K, marathon, or triathlon, then shouldn’t Christians train even harder to know God’s Word and principles, then practice them?

I think about the apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 27,26, 23:

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize… I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should… So I run with purpose in every step… I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.”

If I am willing to invest time to train for a 10K, then I should put the same kind effort to train in godliness. So my resolution this year is to not only train for my next run but to also read the Bible more and to try to imitate Christ.