I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
While I wouldn’t consider myself a “runner,” I have done some running in my lifetime; as have you, I’m sure. When you are running, one of the main things to worry about is falling down. And even when we don’t actually fall down, we do sometimes stumble and lose our balance. Every person who has ever run anywhere for any reason has surely stumbled at one point or another.
As Christians, we are in a spiritual “race.” I Corinthians 9:24 tells us “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” We are running a spiritual race. It is not against other people, but against ourselves. We are “striving for the mastery.”
In this spiritual race, as in a physical race, we want to do our best. We don’t want to fall and we don’t want to stumble. In a physical race, we train and exercise so that we will have proper balance and form, which help us to not stumble or fall. In our spiritual race, we also have tools at our disposal to help keep us from bumbling and stumbling around. These verses give us some of those tools.
We need to stay in the path of wisdom. In a race, people often stumble when they get out of their lane. We need to get in the lane of wisdom and stay there, focusing on not straying from that path. We also need to “take fast hold of instruction.” When we get the opportunity to learn something to make us a better runner, we should take it. Physical runners are always looking for ways to make themselves better. So should we as Christians. In fact, these verses tell us that instruction “is thy life.”
How is our spiritual race going? Are we running straight and smooth? Or are we bumbling and stumbling?