I’ve never thought much about marathons before today. Have you? Even with the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, I didn’t think about the race. I only thought about the tragedy. I guess my simple, nonathletic mind has trouble understanding what would drive someone to run such a distance. But, I truly admire those who do.
Did you know marathons originated around 490BC? According to www.justrunlah.com, the marathon came to be “at the time when the Persians were invading Greece.” This was four years prior to Xerxes ascending the Persian throne, seven years before his outlandish party, and about ten years before Esther became his choice for queen.
Supposedly, a Greek messenger, Pheidippides, ran from the Battle of Marathon to proclaim to the people of Athens, that the Greeks defeated the Persians. Unfortunately, after running such a distance without stopping, Pheidippides fell to the ground and died of exhaustion.
Originally, the running distance of 40.8 kilometers was used for the first Olympic Games in 1896. JustRunLah.com indicated it’s the distance between the battle of Marathon and the city of Athens, or it could be the distance between Athens and Sparta as another source pointed out. Fittingly, a young Greek, Spyridon Louis, won the first Olympic marathon. Since then, the race distance changed to 42.195km, or 26 miles, 385 yards.
Why do you need to know this information? First, it’s interesting, and you never know when the question will come up on Jeopardy [ha, ha]. But secondly, many times our Christian walk is compared to a race or marathon. For us, ordinary folk, running 26 plus miles is impossible, yet it is also impossible to live for Christ without the Holy Spirit, although countless people try every day.
Referring to Grecian or Isthmian races where many run, yet they produce only one winner, Paul writes, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? RUN,” he says to Christians, “in such a way that you may obtain it.” Obtain what? The prize of an imperishable crown from Jesus Christ our Lord.
Still, with the Christian race, it’s different. ALL who RUN in “such a way” obtain the crown. No one loses. This is so unlike the races known to man. But, how do we run that we may obtain this crown from our Lord? King David explains, “For by You [O LORD] I can RUN against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall.”
David knew he only did these by relying on God’s Holy Spirit. He says, the Lord our God saves, lights our lamp, and enlightens our darkness. His way is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. He is our Rock, and He arms us with strength. Almighty God makes our way perfect. In fact, when we truly believe God’s Word and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior, He makes our feet like the feet of a deer – swift, steady, and sure, so our feet do not slip.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t see it in my life.” Well, I feel for you. But, let me ask, have you had your spiritual eyes opened?
Job said, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now (through his trial and God speaking) my eye sees You.” Jesus said, “…unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
If you know you are born again, and your eyes still do not see, something is wrong. Hold fast the Word of life. Believe God and pray. Jesus will open your eyes that you may see His hand at work and RUN strong. Moreover, this is what he told the prophet Habakkuk, “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may RUN who reads it.” 
Whether this passage means RUN strong or RUN away from the judgment to come, without the Word of God and the refreshing of His Spirit, oh, we can run, yet we will crumble, fall, and die in the end like Pheidippides. Nevertheless, by our Lord, by His Word, and through His Holy Spirit, we will read, RUN, and not be weary. We will not faint. And we will finish our race with joy.
 Esther 1 and 2
 I Corinthians 9:24
 I Corinthians 9:25
 Psalm 18:29
 Psalm 18:27-36
 Job 42:5
 John 3:3
 Philippians 2:16
 Habakkuk 2:2
 Isaiah 40:31
 Acts 20:24