Crowds lined the streets for miles yesterday. For my fourth running of the Pittsburgh marathon/half marathon, I chose to run as Wonder Woman.
All of a sudden, an average runner without fans or family present to cheer her on became a star.
“Go Wonder Woman!”
“We love you Wonder Woman!”
“Look! It’s Wonder Woman!”
The crowd was awesome. They definitely kept me running. From the expressions on their faces, I think a few small children actually believed I was a real superhero. I waved and high-fived so many people over the 26.2 mile course that I do believe my smile-muscles are more sore from laughing than my back and leg muscles are from running.
After the marathon I grabbed the kids and headed straight to see my hero at the flashlight drags in Waynesburg. My husband sponsors legal drag racing at the airport there over the summer. They loved Wonder Woman there, too.
I got to start the races, “race” my car, and had a photo shoot for their next magazine. I think I might just change my identity permanently.
All the attention got me to thinking what it might be like to really be a star. Then I remembered that every single Christian is called to be just that.
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. ~Philippians 2:14-16
The Bible instructs us to “shine like stars” so that those who have taught us how to live godly lives will not have “run or labored in vain.” And this girl knows what it feels like to run in vain. (Once I ran a 20 mile race where they cleaned up the cones, the clock, and finished the post-race party as well as all the hot soup on a 20 degree day before I’d even finished running!)
Apparently, our willingness to be stars is the fruit of our leaders’ efforts, (and the Holy Spirit of course.) If we choose not to shine, they suffer discouragement and dejection after having exhausted themselves running hard for our benefit.
Being a Christian star is a bit more complex than changing into a superhero costume, though. Instead, in Philippians 2:12-16, the Bible tells us to do these things:
1. Obey. If the Bible says to do or not do something, we must listen.
2. “Work out” your salvation. It tells us to do this with fear and trembling. We must be serious about our spiritual life – as serious as elite athletes are about their physical training.
3. Do all things without complaining or arguing. When we’re at mile 22 of a really rough work day, God’s Word still hold us to a high standard of self-control. Refraining from a negative attitude keeps us “blameless and innocent” in difficult situations.
4. Hold fast to the word of life. Be true to the gospel and to Jesus Christ. Be faithful. Doing so has the power to make you shine.
Being Wonder Woman for a day was really fun. Fortunately, I don’t have to change my identity in order to be a real star. All I have to do is abide in Christ, abide in his word, and be conformed to his identity through them both. Then, my race will be truly amazing.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. ~1 Corinthians 9:24-25