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Run into the Tower

As a former runner, my high school cross country coach used a series of different techniques to get our team into shape at the beginning of each season. One of my favorites is known as fartlek training. This intermixes walking, jogging, and sprinting. Depending upon the group you were placed in, the leader with a stop watch sets the pace and gives the command to switch every 2 to 5 minutes. Starting with power walking soon transitions into a steady jog until you go all out, as fast as you can go, until this cycle is repeated several times.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the [consistently] righteous man [upright and in right standing with God] runs into it and is safe, high [above evil] and strong, Proverbs 18:10.

King Solomon uses the Hebrew word לרוץ at the end of the passage above. Solomon could have used הליכה to command his children to walk into God’s strong tower. Another option was to זה מה שאני עושה, by elevating the sense of urgency to a jog. Rather, Solomon doesn’t want people to be apathetic or distracted. Thus, when you find yourself surrounded by a world filled with darkness, run toward to the Lord’s strong and safe tower. This level of urgency is found in those who are upright and in right standing with God.

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high protecting wall in his own imagination and conceit, Proverbs 18:11.

Unfortunately, the gifted, talented, and wealthy often exchange God’s tower for a high wall that they build on their own. Solomon compares this type of person with conceited individuals who possess a great imagination. The apostle Paul refers to a similar character flaw in Galatians 6:7. While things may go well for you for a while, those who trust in themselves will eventually become worn out by living outside of God’s strong tower. In view of this spiritual reality, run into God’s tower.

by Jay Mankus

Just Run Away

In the film Forrest Gump, Jenny’s advice for her friend remains constant throughout, “whenever you find yourself in trouble Forrest, just run away as fast as you can.”  As for Jenny, this was similar to her childhood prayer, “please God, make me a bird so that I can fly far, far away.”  Initially, God answered her prayer, being set free from the sexual abuse of her father as the state gave her grandmother guardian status.  However, there are certain things like Soul Spirit hurts which you can’t run from as memories follow you wherever you go.

Meanwhile, Forrest Gump found safety, success and solitude from physically running.  Fleeing from bullies, Forrest realized that he could outran people riding bikes, especially through grassy areas.  Once safe from harm, Forrest fell in love with running, using it as his main mode of transportation.  This passion led to a college scholarship, success in the military and solitude when he struggled to find meaning in life.  Thus, Jenny’s advice worked much better for Forrest than for her, becoming the motto for his life.

In the spiritual world, fleeing from the devil is great advice, demonstrated by Jesus in Matthew 4:10.  The apostle Paul added to this concept, referring to running away from a desire to do things in secret, at night when the mind thinks God can’t see you, Romans 12:11-14.  The most vocal of the 12 disciples added his own 2 cents as well, recognizing the power of the devil and the need to just run away, 1 Peter 5:8-9.  Finally, Jesus’ earthly brother provides one last reminder with a promise, “if you submit yourself to God, the devil with flee,” James 4:7.  Don’t just run away like Jenny; rather run into the loving arms of God the Father who is waiting for all prodigals to come home, Luke 15:20.

by Jay Mankus

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