Couch to 5K
August 18, 2021 by DC
In an effort to become healthier and more physically fit, I downloaded a running app to my phone. Keep in mind, I'm not a runner. Never have been. However, I thought this might be a good motivational tool. It's designed to take you from very little activity, to being able to tackle a 5K run in a matter of eight weeks. So it starts you out slowly. The first week you walk for two minutes, followed by running for thirty seconds. Then repeat. The idea for the following weeks is to slowly decrease your walking and increase your running time. So after that first week, you can imagine my surprise when I went out on week number two and started my app and began running. And running. And running. For some reason I was only running, and quickly wearing myself out, growing impatient, waiting for the app to finally tell me to take a break and walk for a bit. When it never did, I realized that somehow I had accidently switched it to week number eight by mistake. So I was going straight from a week one workout, to week eight, and I was certainly not prepared for that. No one can be expected to go straight from couch potato to a superstar runner in one week.
Now, just because I downloaded a running app, that certainly doesn't mean that I'm instantly a seasoned "runner". It's just the first step and it requires lots of work ahead. As Christians, we could say the same thing is true when it comes to our faith. When we come to Christ that very first time, our hearts are heavy with sin, guilt, and shame, and as we surrender ourselves to God, asking Jesus into our lives, in that instant, we do become Christians. We are, however, still babes in the faith at that moment. And while our salvation isn't a thing that can be earned, our faith does require some work on our end, and God becomes your personal trainer.
James 1:2-4 in The Message translation says, "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way."
Becoming a baby Christian takes a tiny bit of faith. Becoming a mature Christian requires a great deal of faith. And just like with my running app, you can't go from couch to 5K immediately. It requires work in between. And because God is always working on you, and will continue to work on you, we are always living in that "in between" time. Our faith is constantly being tested. Each time a challenge comes your way, it's kind of like God is saying, "it's time to take your faith up a notch. You've been operating in week one for long enough, it's time to take you to week two." So don't be discouraged. He's building your faith muscles.
Isaiah 40 tells us this about God, "He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes 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." If that's a picture of the Christian you want to become, keep the faith. It's a process. Whatever trials you face on your journey today, God will use those to help you grow tomorrow.
(By the way... I ended up deleting that app. Nobel idea, but I'm definitely not a runner.)