The Runner is so attracted to the border of what’s right and wrong. The Runner thinks he can dabble in sin and outrun it. He sees the consequences as small and the pay-off well worth the risk. The Runner defends what he does with excuses.
He scoffs at all warnings. Sin is effortless and he’s in control. He maneuvers and takes it in stride, throwing caution to the wind. Blame goes to someone else. As time goes by, the Runner notices sin gaining speed, creeping up on him. Is he getting weaker or is sin getting stronger?
The Runner needs more excuses now, but he’s still ahead and in control. The warnings are from fools who don’t realize his strength. The Runner can stop the sin at any time he wants. At some point the Runner sees that sin keeps pace with him. He needs more excuses, but this setback is not defeat and the Runner is still strong.
Tomorrow he will pull into the lead. But the day comes when sin takes control. He never noticed sin pass him by. He never noticed sin’s size and strength. The Runner is weakening and the voices of warnings swim in his head. The eyes of the onlookers reflect his doom.
Deep in his heart, the Runner knows the end is near. A memory flashes through his mind. Didn’t he hear the still, small voice of God along the way? Sin poisons and clouds his mind and the Runner struggles to keep control of his thoughts. Has he gone too far? Has sin crept up and robbed him of his very life? Do you know a runner?
Many of us do. While growing up, my brother was sensible and kind. He was a good big brother and protective of me. During his teens, he made poor decisions: alcohol, hard drugs, and homosexuality. Our relationship was strained with arguments and struggles. He scoffed at all reasoning and went on his way. He became the Runner. He boasted that he was in full control and could stop these addictions at any time.
He was never to blame for what went wrong. He knew it all and we knew nothing. He ran at a steady pace, and he was in the lead. But I saw sin gaining on him. His face turned hollow, his skin lost its color, and his teeth decayed — the scars of a drug addict. When sin caught up with him, I saw him looking nervous. All his excuses increased.
Finally, he came back home broken and vowed to turn his life around. But with the passing of time, he gained speed and once again, he ran. Now at 60, he’s growing frail and weak. He has allowed sin to destroy his life and his family relationships.
Even his friends have deserted him. He still rejects all warnings and all my pleas for him to give his life to the Lord. His mind is now fogged and his reasoning gone. I’ve watched the life of this runner and I’ve seen it in others.
I know the end of the story if he won’t respond to the voice of the Lord calling. But, God doesn’t force us. Each person has to make their own decision to come.
“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
– James 1:14-15 (ESV)
“Father, I pray for all the runners in this world who are running a race with sin. Lord, help them to run to You because in You we have love, hope, peace and joy. Lord, I specifically pray for the Runner in my life who needs to respond to Your invitation to come….”