Now Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain…

Yesterday I went on a 2 mile run. It was exhilarating.  I love running outside in the fall weather.  The air is crisp but the sun is brilliantly shining so there’s that perfect balance of warmth and coolness to compliment the whole experience.  My lungs are pumping intentionally and my heartbeat is escalating.  My breathing is disciplined and focused.  My body feels strong and the pavement feels like my friend.  All of that happens on a good run.  I feel content on a good run.  Even though I’m fighting for every step, pushing myself forward as I approach the intimidating hill that is in my neighborhood, I attack the hill without stopping.   I FEEL victorious.  I’m going to make it.  And I LOVE IT.  I can feel the passersby as maybe they marvel at my not so thin figure determined to do more than a light jog and really break a sweat.  And even though I see them out of the corner of my eye and feel their presence, my head is faced straight ahead, eyes set on capturing more ground with each step.  I am not distracted.  Nothing else matters except for this run.  Except for completing it, giving it all I’ve got and not taking a break to walk and catch my breath.

How similar is this spiritual path I’m on.  I find myself running along, focused, disciplined, and even enjoying the challenge and fight this journey takes.  My muscles feel strong and I’ve hit a great stride.  But alas, something distracts me and no longer do I feel content.  No longer am I interested in running.  In fact, I want to go sit on the sidelines, cup my face in my hands and pout like a toddler.  I get entangled in my emotions and can no longer see the course ahead.  All of a sudden this run seems impossible and I’m not interested in completing it.  God seems far away and I wish I could change some things.  Change the season, b/c now fall isn’t so beautiful and I want summer.  The pace I’m running at seems too slow and I want to go faster.  I find myself wanting to change ANYTHING about my surroundings so that I can exert control and have things MY way.  God always draws me back to reality when this happens, but it still happens and time gets wasted.  Currently I find myself distracted, discontent.

Several years ago I had a great revelation of what Paul was talking about when he mentored Timothy and explained to him the importance of contentment.  1Timothy 6 “ Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”  WOW, just food and clothing to be content?!  I have way more than that and yet find myself still struggling to get back on course.  Yet when I did find that place that Paul references in this passage, I was finally able to run and not grow weary.

Often, I long to run in the natural for miles without feeling fatigued.  To exert a supernatural ability to keep going and surpass the various laws of physics, which says that such a thing, isn’t possible.  But maybe what I’m really longing for is to do this spiritually.  To run a race without distraction, without doubt, without depression, without discontentment.  To run endlessly with God, cheering me on the whole way and running beside me.  I look forward to that day, to run without growing weary.  I get the feeling even while expressing that desire that that is exactly what God has in mind each day I live here on earth.

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