Why Running Outside Is Better Than a Treadmill, Self-Discipline, and Other Things


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“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.  Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” –1 Timothy 4:7-8

Treadmills are for sissies.  I have run on treadmills before; they are fine.  However, treadmills are the tool of the undisciplined.  Here is what I mean: when you run on a treadmill, you can quit at any time without any consequences.  You may have come into the gym intending to run for 30 minutes, but once you hit that two mile mark, you convince yourself that that is far enough, you step off the treadmill, and go about your day.

However…if you had gone running outside, and you ran two miles away from home, you wouldn’t have the option to quit.  If you quit, you would have the indignity of walking all the way back home.  If you quit at the halfway point, you are stranded away from home.  It’s a lot harder to quit outside than it is inside.

In our Christian lives, I think most of us prefer the treadmill.  I know I do.  We commit to Christian growth, but like the treadmill, we commit in ways that leave us an easy out.  We decide to do more Bible study, memorization, or prayer, but we don’t find ways to kill the old man and his annoying habit of convincing us to quit so easily.

We need to seek out ways to “run” our Christian lives outside. For instance, if I want to work on Scripture memory, how do I go about it in a way that won’t allow me to quit so easily?

One of the instructions Paul gives to Timothy is to guard his life and doctrine carefully as a young minister of the gospel.  Self-discipline is essential in the life of any young man (or old man, or woman, or any Christian for that matter).

I had a professor at Southern, Dr. Gentry, who used to say, “Do it right the first time, and you will save yourself a lot of work later.”  It is so much easier to do it sloppy first, and forget about the extra work later, isn’t it?  If we were more diligent on the front end of our Christian life, it would save us a lot of heartache and headache with the same sins and problems later.

May God grant me, and you, His energy to work powerfully in us to get off the treadmill and to take a jog outside. (Col. 1:29)

Published by Chad C. Ashby

Instructor of Literature, Math, and Theology at Greenville Classical Academy Greenville, SC

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