There is a marathon coming to Fort Wayne. On October 1, there will be an opportunity to run for 26 miles and 385 yards. There will be medals, there will be celebration, there will be a finish line.
I’m planning to run it. And you can run that marathon with me. (Or you can sponsor me. I just made that up. I have no idea what sponsorship would mean. But if you do, let me know.)
But if you and I want to survive a marathon without needing medical attention, we need to change our minds about how we are living.
We need to stop eating junk because we can run better if we weigh less. We need to stop staying up all night because resting well helps us train well and run well. We need to start eating better food in better ways. We need to start moving in scheduled ways that build toward completing the distance.
We need to repent.
It’s a funny word to use about marathon training. And yet it’s exactly the right word. Because it captures the sense of identifying a place you want to be (finish line) and then changing attitude and behavior to conform with the values of that place.
I know. You may not be interested in marathons. But you are interested in something. In your heart, somewhere, there is a something that you are looking for. There is something that you would be willing to change your life, change your thoughts, change your direction for.
When John started talking to people in the preaching part of his work, he offered that the something was the Kingdom of heaven. And, he said, that the best way to respond to the Kingdom being close was to repent.
He didn’t suggest that repenting is the goal. The training itself isn’t a goal, it’s a preparation. But because of the desire for the goal, you do the repenting.
So you know, just as I’m moving toward October, this post is moving us toward one of my words for 2016: Kingdom
If one of your plans for 2016 is to be more intentional about spiritual practices, Ruth Haley Barton has a great book called. Sacred Rhythms. She explains several spiritual practices, like solitude, self-examination, and Sabbath, and then describes how to practice it.