Download Your Copy

Eric Liddell

"I want to compare faith to running in a race. It's hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. ... Who am I to say, 'Believe, have faith', in the face of life's realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way.

And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, 'Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.' If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race."

Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire (from the1982 Oscar winning screenplay)

Achieving the Runner's High.

Running High is an optional set of exercises and meditations for people wanting to develop their spiritual muscles. It's designed to give everyone food for thought, wherever they are on their spiritual journey. If you have a faith, then you can use this series to go deeper in it. If you don't, then you can simply concentrate on the opportunities for self-awareness and self-improvement.

Pick an episode from the following list:

Part 1. Motivation | Part 2. Meditation | Part 3. Mastery | Part 4. Muscle

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day.  It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be strong today?’” Peter Maher, Canadian Olympic runner

“It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever - the one who recognises the challenges and does something about it.” Vince Lombardi, legendary American Football coach

Running is a physical activity, no doubt about that. It makes demands on you – on your energy, on your strength, on your muscle.

And yet, it also gives you energy, strength and muscle.

Running develops your strength as well as demanding it. As you train, you can literally see yourself progressing. Things that were once difficult slowly become less so. What you once could not do, you now find you can. Running reminds us that we all have untapped potential, and that if we’re prepared to expend effort and energy then we can fulfil that potential.

Muscle grows and develops as you use it, and only as you use it. So it is with our ability to know God

Muscle grows and develops as you use it, and only as you use it. So it is with our ability to know God, to grow in grace, to open ourselves up to His transforming love. It’s almost as if prayer itself is a muscle, waiting to be built up. Our capacity to know God is not fixed. We can grow it.

It’s easy to live life without fulfilling anything like our potential. We find some things difficult and so give up, rather than pushing through and seeing our capacity grow.

We’ve looked at four areas of our inner life – motivation, meditation, mastery and muscle. Together they make up who we are. And our capacity for each area can be grown and developed if we’re prepared to push through. With application and effort we can see more of our potential as human beings fulfilled.

Jesus once said that the greatest commandment was that you ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart (motivation), all your soul (meditation), all your mind (mastery) and all your strength (muscle).’

This series of 4 exercises has simply been about exploring what it might take to love more fully, and thus become more whole.

Here is the final set of challenges. Read the Training Notes for inspiration, then set about the Activities for Running and the Applications for Life.

Training Notes. Isaiah 40.27-31

Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,

“God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”?

He energises those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?

God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.

And he knows everything, inside and out. He energises those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.

For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.

But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.

Isaiah the Prophet, The Message Translation

Activities for Running. Things to do when you're on the road.

  • Learn to pray with your body. Make your running a form of prayer. Practise the presence of God, allowing Him to be present in your movement.
  • Let your running reflect a conversation with God – give body and physicality to prayers of longing, dependence, desire and dreams..

Applications for Life. Things to do when you're off road.

  • Write down ways in which you can love God with all that you are. Think about what it means to love God with your heart (motivation, will, purpose and focus). Think about what it means to love God with your soul (inner life, emotion, creativity, relationships, your identity). Think about what it means to love God with your mind (intellect, discipline, choices, commitment). Think about what it means to love God with your strength (energy, action, practice, involvement with the world).
  • Remember that authentic Christianity and love for God involves your strength. Get physical for God. Care for people, work for justice, feed the hungry and be good news for the poor.
  • Write down 3 things that you have learnt from running that you want to transfer in to the rest of your life and your relationship with God.

Mark Cowling
If you've got a question, thought or comment, then email Mark