Love of ...

Throughout my running years, I’ve had phases when running’s been more than a positive passion – it’s been an idol.  I hate to admit it, but there were periods when race times affected my mood and whether I ran on a particular morning dictated the posture of my day.  I’m not a gifted athlete, no one knows my name in the running world (or any other world for that matter), and I’m light-years away from setting records.  Despite that, I placed much hope and self worth in my running goals and accomplishments.  When the love of something other than God works its way to the top of our mountain of priorities and hopes, a nasty avalanche is in the making.

“You shall have no other gods before me.”  Deuteronomy 5:7

Passions and possessions themselves aren’t evil or destructive.  Many can – and should – be used to accomplish great good.  However, when we place our hope in them instead of in God, our desire to obtain more accomplishments or wealth can be the root of much evil.  And, the evil can arise regardless of the quantity of our possessions or talents … a person with average running talent and an Olympic runner, if they both place their sport and accomplishments at the center of their affections and hope, will hang out together at the bottom of a peace-less pit.  If we love God above all else and put our hope in Him alone, we will find contentment with our talents and economic situation, no matter how they are viewed by the world.  We all have many things we love and enjoy – people, activities & possessions – and they will fall in their appropriate places on our mountain of priorities if we keep God at the summit.  His command couldn’t be more straightforward – it’s only 8 words and there are no qualifiers, disclaimers, exceptions, loopholes, or fine print.  Even so, we falter when we try to live it.  Too often, our time is consumed with thoughts of how to increase our accomplishments or possessions, to the detriment of other activities that should take priority.  If our hope is fixed on things other than God, no matter how intrinsically good those things are, we will be disappointed and our surrounding circumstances will dictate our peace and joy.  I plan to log many miles this year, and I have a lot of running goals.  If I attack them to the best of my ability and keep my focus on God and His will, maybe I’ll become a better version of myself … regardless of how I measure up as a runner.

Dear God, please help me place my hope in You alone.