Pursuing God is like running in a marathon where almost everyone is ignoring the course design and making up their own finish line. It’s an altogether unique dynamic: most running alongside us aren’t actually in the race, and there’s no way to tell who is. Finishing well requires knowing the correct destination, constantly focusing on reaching it ourselves (Php 3:13-14), encouraging others to come with us (He 3:13), and ignoring the pull of those who’d turn us out of the way. (1Ti 6:3-5)
Every spiritual question isn’t a good one; every religious topic isn’t a profitable one. Many call us to follow as they suddenly turn down a side street or head off into the woods. God hints at this when He exhorts us to avoid unprofitable topics (2Ti 2:14), and foolish, ignorant questions. (2Ti_2:23)
Discerning what’s profitable and worthwhile in our pursuit of God, where we should be spending our time and energy, requires clarity in God’s purpose for us: that we walk in love, holiness, and faith. (1Ti 1:5) Our objective is to know Him and please Him (Php 3:8), to be found in Him (Php 3:9), and to be like Him. (Php 3:10-11)
An infinite number of appealing distractions will be offered us, so we must constantly be asking, “How will this help us know God, please Him, and be more like Him?” If it doesn’t line up with God’s purpose, then it’s ultimately wasting time … our most precious resource.
When we neglect to ponder the path of our feet, maintaining our orientation in light of our destination, we can easily find ourselves off course. At that point, it really doesn’t matter how fast we’re running, or how hard we’re trying … until we’re back in God’s race it’s all for naught. (1Co 3:15)
Let’s run with purpose (1Co 9:26); let’s run with deliberation. (Php 3:15) Let’s run to win. (1Co 9:24)