Stride Right

One memorable scene in the Oscar-winning movie, Chariots of Fire, finds Eric Liddell explaining to his sister, Jenny, his deep sense of calling: “I believe that God made me for a purpose, for China, but He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Liddell would go on to win the 400-meter event in the 1924 Olympics before devoting the rest of his life to mission work in China. As I think about his innermost convictions, I cannot help but feel what must have been his profound sense of freedom. Running a race or proclaiming Jesus’ love, neither was drudgery to Liddell, rather both were sources of joy, for God had “made” him for these, and he pursued each as one liberated and inspired by the truth of God’s forever forgiveness and indwelling presence.

While few of us are (or ever were) gifted track athletes, all of us have been loosed from the stymying weight of trying to be good enough for God in our own power. Jesus, who is righteous by nature, has truly made us one with Himself, and so His righteousness—His right standing before God—becomes our own. He who atoned for our sins lives in us, so we are completely and forever free to run in Him unfettered by our past and with clear direction for our future. “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,” said the writer of Hebrews, “and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith …”1

So, too, we stride with purpose. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,”2 wrote the apostle Paul, for Jesus liberated us not for us to return to the crippling ways of sin, but to empower us in liberty along a fresh course of meaning and impact. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free,” he wrote, “But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”3

God has made each of us for a purpose. So, as we pace life’s course in a precious freedom of the soul, may we, too, feel His pleasure.

Father, you’ve done so much for me; help me to accept your love and grace. Show me my purposes in life and guide me as I pursue them today. Fill me with your Spirit, so that I do what is pleasing to you and helpful to others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Christ in me is freedom.

1 Hebrews 12:1, 2
2 Galatians 5:1
3 Galatians 5:13, 14

[Read today’s Scripture in Galatians 5:1-6.]