We walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7
What does scripture say about walking with God and running the race of faith? As a walker and runner, I was curious about this, and compiled ten verses to share with you. Next time you are out walking or running, one of these verses might be good to take along with you!
- The first time walking or running is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 3, when “the LORD God is walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze.” Think of that: God shows us the gift of walking, as a wonderful way to care for our soul as we care for our body. It is a wonderful spiritual discipline modeled by our Creator – to walk in God’s beautiful creation, and to remind ourselves when we do this that we are walking in God’s very presence.
- After God is found walking in Genesis 3, the next time walking or running is mentioned, it is not God doing it, but one of God’s faithful followers, Enoch (Noah’s great-grandfather). In Genesis 5: “When Enoch had lived sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after the birth of Methuselah three hundred years, and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him.” Enoch lived a long, blessed life because he “walked with God.” Walking with God from that time on in the Bible becomes a metaphor, not to be taken literally, but suggesting that we are living our life in accordance with God’s teachings, and we are living our life in a real, life-giving relationship with God. Isn’t it interesting that Enoch lived 365 years? 365. A year for every day of the year. We are to walk with God every day.
- Two verses use walking to summarize God’s teachings. First, from Deuteronomy 10, when Moses says: “What does the LORD your God require of you? Only to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD your God.”
- Next, from the prophet Micah, who says something quite similar: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” That sums it up, doesn’t it? Love God, love others, do justice, and walk in God’s ways.
- So much for walking with God. But what about running for God? What are some verses about running? Walking is mentioned in 273 verses, running in only 83, so taken literally I suppose we should walk three times as much as we run. But running is mentioned quite often, and usually to indicate the urgency of walking with God. For example, in Proverbs 18: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.” When we are in trouble, we should run, not walk, to God.
- In the New Testament, it is Paul who uses the metaphor of running most often. In 1 Corinthians, he writes: “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one. So I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.”
- And of course, at the end of his life, Paul would write to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
- Whether we walk with God or Run for God, there will come a time when our race is complete. As Ecclesiastes puts it so beautifully: “Under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the skillful; but time and chance happen to them all.”
- So what should we do? How about this, from Hebrews 12: “Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”
- And what will be the result? One last verse on walking with God and running for God, with an awesome promise in Isaiah: “The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
So let’s walk with God, and run our race faithfully. And let’s walk by faith through this world, not by sight, until that blessed day when, having finished our race of faith, we, too, will receive the crown of righteousness from the one who first ran the race for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen