Words of Worth

“You’re not wearing that, are you?”

June 8, 2012

On November 6th, 2008, I stood shoulder to shoulder, elbow to elbow, and shoe to shoe with 40,000 complete strangers as I readied myself to run the New York City Marathon.  Training had been completed, my iPod was loaded with motivational tunes, power bars were tucked in my pocket, and I even had my cell phone in my pack.  (Hey, you never know when you might need to make a phone call!)  My stomach was in knots and I was freezing – the temperature that morning was a chilly twenty-eight degrees with a stiff north wind blowing right in my face.  The weather was an issue.  Because of the volume of people involved, the starting times for the race varied and even though I wasn’t scheduled to line up until almost 11 o’clock, my bus ride over to the starting gate left the hotel at 6:40 am.  That early in the day, it was frigid!  But by the time I would actually cross the finish line in Central Park, the forecast was for sunny skies and temperatures in the 60’s.

Due to this significant climate change, everyone who was running the race that day was advised to wear jackets or sweatshirts that we NEVER WANTED TO SEE AGAIN.  The race officials knew that as the day heated up and our bodies acclimated to the exertion of the running 26.2 miles, we would want to shed our outer garments.  Going back to get our clothes was not an option because as we “threw off” what we did not need, we literally left it behind us on the ground.  I will never forget as I ran the first couple of miles of the marathon, I felt like I was wading through a sea of t-shirts, coats, and windbreakers.  My own jacket fell to the ground a few miles later and sure enough I never even gave a thought to trying to reclaim it.

That visual image remains seared into my memory banks and every time I read in Ephesians to “lay aside the old self”, I think back to all those articles of clothing that were cast aside by their owners.  Why would we choose to “put back on” the acts of corruption when we have been given the robes of righteousness?  Just like I will never see the bright blue fleece jacket I dropped that day, I should leave behind any trace of anger, pride, slander, and malice and finish the race set before me keeping my eyes on the Author and Finisher of my faith, Who sacrificed all to enable me to run freely in His grace. (CT)

“22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Ephesians 4:22-24

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