It’s a long time runners’ protocol but while out exercising today I thought about the significance of running -on the shoulder - toward oncoming traffic. While in college I met and began training regularly with pals Shannon Campbell, Troy Champney and Will Dorsett. Our committed gaggle of friends comprised of those guys and other ragamuffins learning and practicing various martial art disciplines such as Filipino Kali, Muay Thai kickboxing, and Jujitsu to name a few. I miss those times, but mostly miss the guys that made those experiences so rich. It wasn't all that well organized (like it is today) but we learned a lot from each other in the process.
Getting back to oncoming traffic…one of the most important lessons I learned in our training together is to move just slightly aside but toward the punch. The truth is, it doesn’t matter how close the oncoming right-cross comes to your head, if you bob, weave and “pass the strike” right past your nose you don’t get hit. The problem arises when you panic and attempt to just back away because as you do so you remain in the direct path of the strike – thus you still end up with a broken nose.
While running today, I was not thinking about how close I could get to the oncoming cars (I don’t have a death-wish). However, if I run on the other side of the road I don’t have the same awareness if the cars are coming from behind me. If a distracted driver came toward me from behind, it would be impossible to react quickly enough to avoid being hit. The same is true in the ring – if a punch comes toward my head and I’m not fully engaged with what’s in front of me, I’m in trouble. I have to know what dangers lie ahead–so I can respond accordingly.
In Acts 2 the followers of Jesus were gathered together from all over the region for Pentecost. Suddenly the Holy Spirit rushed through their presence and they were miraculously able to communicate clearly with each other and they experienced a sense of community that they had not experienced before then.
As it happens still today, there were many who scoffed at them questioning their message and integrity.
However, the Apostles kept looking ahead, paying attention, and they engaged effectively.
Acts 2:14-40 records Peter’s response to the “oncoming traffic” and that message gives us the following things to remember when we encounter a situation like this.
1. Keep your eyes and heart focused ahead – Be aware of where you need to engage. Don’t pass off your responsibility
2. Pay attention – Even though you may be looking in the right direction, doesn't always mean you’re paying close enough attention. We must be proactive. Many don’t realize that God has our best interest in mind and that passionately following Him puts us in the best place possible but it requires being proactive. It’s hardly ever easy, but it’s best.
3. Engage – Peter communicates directly communicates the message and love and freedom through the exclusive work of Jesus Christ… and he communicates it even to those who pose a threat.