Warm Up: Ephesians 6:11, Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
Stretching: Read Ephesians 6: 13-18.
Run: I didn’t know a lot about running when I started. I wanted to stay fit and running was cheap. But the more you run, the more you understand the need for proper equipment; and nothing was more vital to a runner than good shoes. The market for running shoes was just beginning to develop in the 1970s. Back then, a number of runners to include a guy named Phil Knight started selling shoes out of the back of their cars anywhere runners might gather. Later, “running shoe stores” began popping up across the country managed by elite runners such as Bill Rodgers. The New Balance 320 came out in 1976, breaking the ten ounce barrier! As soon as I put them on, I felt more like a runner…whatever that was!
Remember the movie, “Forrest Gump”? There is that wonderful scene where he just takes off running one day and runs for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. When he got up that day, he didn’t intend to run that far. It appears that he didn’t intend to run at all, the way he was dressed…except for the shoes: Brand new Nike Classic Cortez! Other than that, he doesn’t look like a runner with his khaki slacks, belt, and a buttoned up short-sleeve, cotton shirt. Who goes out and runs dressed like that? But as he progresses on this journey, his outfit starts looking more and more like that of a runner; running shorts, t-shirts, etc. Even Forrest Gump was smart enough to learn that if you’re going to run, you need to dress the part.
Today’s “Stretching” is about the basic equipment of a Christian who ‘runs the race’. Like good running shoes, they are vital if you’re going to take your spiritual walk seriously. Going the distance requires that you put this equipment on every day. Like Forrest, you might not ‘look the part’ at first because you only start with the helmet of salvation. As a new Christian, the armor may seem bulky or cumbersome. You might even consider going without the breastplate or the belt at first. But the equipment of the believer has been carefully designed for your protection and as you conform to the image of Christ, you’ll find it to be a perfect fit. The more you “put on” your new equipment and run the race with it, the more comfortable it will feel and fit.
Cool Down: “Dear Lord, if I’m going to stand against the devil’s schemes to ‘run me through’, I’m going to need to be fitted for the battle. As a runner, I know how important good equipment can be and I thank you that you have given me the equipment I will need to be victorious through your son, Jesus Christ. In his name, Amen.”