I know that is quite a mashup, but as we continue studying the book of James, a great discussion came up last night. Here is the dilemma:
We are unable to fully reach the ethical and moral standards that Jesus models and James writes about. So, why should we reach for such out-of-reach standards?
I thought of my experience with running. Growing up, I despised running as an activity unto itself. The only reasonable purposes for running were either training for soccer or someone was chasing me. But, since we have lived near Lynchburg, VA (which appears the running capital of the world), my wife and I have started running. We have both run in a few organized races, and I have learned to enjoy competing against my own previous times and distances. I realize that either because of genetics, waiting until the age of 31 to start running, or a combination of these two factors, I am unlikely to win any of the races I enter. So, why do I run?
I am healthier and stronger. I eat a little better. I hope I am keeping medical issues like heart disease at bay. My times are dropping and my distances are increasing. I am learning to tame my will toward discipline and determination. Overall, I think running makes me healthier in mind and body, even if I never win a race.
I will never, this side of heaven, be able to attain the standard that Jesus has set for me. This much is crystal clear for me, but in reaching for standard of righteousness higher than my own, I become a slightly better reflection of the savior I claim to love. I reach for an unattainable goal because in the reaching, I am healthier in spirit and deed. So, literally and spiritually, I intend to continue running.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1b-2a