Have you run away from something in life? It could be a job, home, family, a challenge, you name it. There are probably many of you, including me, that have run away from something in life.
I grew up in a Christian home, and came to know Christ at an early age. I took stands for my faith at public schools, and even got ridiculed for not being willing to do some of the things other children did. I was active in my youth group, and witnessed to other teens that would become Christians and publicly express that belief to other believers in the church I grew up in. I joined the Marine Corps in 1994 and began to run away.
When you hear the term runaway, you normally think of a teen running away from home. But, I was running away from God. I saw the things of this world as pleasing to the eye, and Satan deceived me. I ran and ran as far as I could go. I blended in with the world, and no one would know that I was different. No one would know that I had Christ in my heart. But God never left me. I continued to live a life running, deceiving all in my path. But God kept pursuing me! (It makes me weep with happiness when I think of the marathons I have put God through in chasing me, and how He never gives up on us!)
About three years ago I came home, and stopped running. Throughout this entire time, I never lost the gift of Salvation that Christ so freely gave me, but I felt God tugging at me. I knew that He was saying, “If you don’t stop running, I am bringing you home to me….because you are doing Me no good down there.” Thank God for His restoration!! I am here to tell you today to stop running if you are in this same situation.
I want to share with you a man in the Bible named Mark. Mark was his Christian name, but John was his Jewish name. Mark was a Christian and was brought up that way by his mother. In fact, his mother’s house was a secret meeting place for Christians. When Mark was young, he went on a mission trip with Paul and Barnabas. Barnabas was Mark’s cousin. Mark, known by John then, deserted the trip (Acts 13:13 “From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem”). We know the word “left” meant deserted because later Paul and Barnabas argued about taking John again on a trip. This argument even separated Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:38).
In 1 Peter 5:13, Mark is referred by Peter as his son. Peter didn’t mean physical son, but he meant that he took him under his wing and discipled him. Mark was probably humiliated by being a coward and deserting Paul and Barnabas, so what better person to disciple him than Peter? Peter, the man that denied Christ 3 times, but later was restored by Jesus himself. Mark was also restored, and became close friends with Paul. Paul requests him to come to his side when he is dying (2 Timothy 4:11- Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry.)
After Mark's restoration he became the author of the gospel Mark. Mark was a “runaway” and he stopped running. God uses people that were once cowards, and afraid, or runaways. God pursues even them. So, if you have become a runaway….stop running today, turn around and see God, He is there. I challenge you to make 1 Corinthians 16:13 your verse today.
1 Corinthians 16:13 “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”
Have a great day, Bert W.