I did track for one year in high school. During that time, I learned a valuable lesson for life from my track coach. He told me, that when I run, that I need to look straight ahead. He told me to never look back. The reasoning for this is because looking back slows you down. The only way you can run with all you have inside of you is to focus on where you are running to and not where you are running from.
In his message about changing the way we change Judah Smith, Senior Pastor of The City Church, says that the reason why people never change is because we never introduce them to the agent of change, Jesus. We always tell people they need to turn from something but never tell them that they have to turn to something. We try to get people to change by telling them to stop doing instead of telling them to start doing. People today are running scared. Change will only occur when people stop trying to run away from something and start running to someone, Jesus. Paul said it this way in Philippians:
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)
In other words Paul is saying that he doesn’t look back at his past but looks forward to his future. He stresses the point to the Philippians that he is not running from something but that he is running to someone. The writer of Hebrews writes it this way:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
Focusing on Jesus, looking to Jesus is the only way people will be able to change. Running toward Jesus is what will bring about transformation in people’s lives.
It wasn’t until the prodigal son in Luke 15 realized what he had to turn to that he began to change. It wasn’t the fact that he had thrown away his inheritance, it wasn’t because he was working for someone else, it wasn’t even because he was eating with the pigs; it was what he had to run to that brought about his transformation.
What would happen if instead of telling people to turn away from sin, death, and despair; we told them to turn to grace, life, and hope? What if instead of running from their past, they were running toward their future? What if instead of trying to pull them away from something, we pushed them toward someone? I believe we would see a change like none other. I believe we would encounter transformation like we’ve never seen before. I believe we would come across a lasting impact in the lives of the people around us. Let’s change the way we change!