REGISTRATION OPEN: Pacesetters, It’s Time To Join The Race
Last Saturday Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge became the first man to run a marathon in under two hours. This is as significant as when Roger Barrister broke the four minute mile. Listening to the commentators I heard one say, “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime.”
His average pace was a time of 2 minutes and 50 seconds per kilometre. That’s the equivalent of 68 seconds per 400m or better still 17 seconds per 100m... for two hours.
He ran the perfect race on a course specifically marked out for him around a park in Vienna, Austria. At sea-level it was set in perfect running conditions with immense preparation and a team of pacesetters replicating race-like conditions. It was purpose built for his success.
As I watched the last 30 minutes of the race the kilometres passed by ever so quickly and it became clear that he would absolutely break the 2 hour time barrier.
There were so many beautiful moments that were captured throughout and at the end of the race. I want to show you my favourite. It’s not when Kipchoge crossed the finish line, it’s not when they presented him with a trophy and the official time, it’s not even when he embraced his wife at the end of the race. It’s the moment captured in the photo I’ve attached to this post.
With 500m to go and the end in sight, his pacesetters peeled back from around him and began to cheer. They began to celebrate him and champion him until he crossed the finish line.
Tears filled my eyes in that moment and I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “That’s what family does.” I sense this is what He is calling the Body of Christ into in this season.
Each of the men who ran with Kipchoge are elite, professional athletes and champions in their own right. They represent many countries and compete in a variety of running distances. However, in humility they laid down competition and comparison and gave themselves to seeing someone else succeed. They had to run just as fast, they had to break the headwind, they had to train and know where to be when but it’s not their names that are beside the record, it’s Kipchoge’s. And they celebrated that they had the opportunity to not only be there, but to play a part in history. They gave their best to him so he could reach a goal and achieve a dream - more than that, so he could breakthrough which will enable others to do so as well.
I heard the Holy Spirit say, “I am calling my body to set pace for one another in this season. I’ve prepared the course and now it’s time for you, in humility, to prefer one another above yourself and do all you can to come alongside others to bring them success. This new era will be marked by my body giving herself to one another in love to see the greatest victories in the earth and dreams coming to pass! Don’t run for yourself - join the race and run for someone else!”
He then revealed to me that pace setters do 3 things:
They set the course
They protect the runner
They set the pace
They Set The Course:
Kipchoge’s pacesetters had a race marked out for them to follow and that enabled him to stay the course. They ran the most efficient course so all he had to do was to continue to move ahead. Like mothers and fathers would, they guided him along the path he should take.
I was reminded of 1 Tim. 1:18 “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.”
In this verse Paul is actually reminding Timothy to keep his eyes on where he’s going. To remember the words spoken over him and encouraging him to pursue them wholeheartedly. By reminding him about the truth of who he was called to be, Paul was marking out the path for him.
I heard the Father say, “I am calling you to call out the gold in others in this season. Speak life and use your words to set the course in which they should run.”
In Kipchoge’s race, the pacesetters made an arrow formation in front of him and two flanked him at the back. This was to protect him from the wind and outdoor elements. Essentially they were creating a human shield.
I heard the Holy Spirit say, “It’s time to raise the shield of faith for one another. Commit to praying for one another and go to war for the destiny of those you’re called to run with.”
Notice the pacesetters covered his back as well. I sense the Father is setting a standard in the Church again where we’ll be people who refuse to speak ill of one another or produce gossip and slander.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.”
It’s time to stop shooting arrows into the backs of others instead we have an opportunity to make it our mission to cover and protect them instead. In this new era, we’re required to operate differently if we desire to see different results. We must refuse to compromise the standard of righteousness in how we treat one another; especially our leaders.
When running together pacesetters break the wind barrier enabling the runner to move into the ease of the slipstream. I heard the Spirit say, “There are those who I am calling you to breakthrough for in this season so they can enjoy the ease of the race. This looks like laying down your life for your friends for kingdom purpose. The victory that I will give you is so much bigger than just the individual I would have you run with. As each one take their place in the formation, corporately you will become a family of overcomes and victorious ones who win battles for the kingdom and advance in the earth.”
They Set The Pace:
There is a consistency required to break barriers of destiny. Upon beginning the race, the goal was one hour, 59 minutes and 50 seconds. When it comes to kilometre split times, across 42 kilometres, that does not leave a lot of margin for error.
In the race the pacesetters were able to correct the average speed when required in order to maintain the pace needed to run sub-two hours. I heard the Spirit say, “By setting the pace for others you enable them to endure the changes of life and in the times that are difficult, you can help them to remain steadfast and secure. Then they are able to be like the wise man who built his house upon the rock (Matt. 7:24-27).
Kipchoge not only beat two hours, he ran a time of one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds. That’s approximately 10 seconds quicker than his goal. Kipchoge’s pacesetters didn’t let the kilometres which were off pace dictate the overall outcome. The Lord reminded me of Phil. 3:13. “One thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind, and straining towards what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal for the prizes of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Coming alongside and laying down our lives for our friends means overlooking the inconsistencies of pace and going the distance, seeing the race through and ensuring victory for those with which we run!
Humility and Vulnerability
I also sensed the encouragement of the Holy Spirit in this season to become vulnerable with one another. Kipchoge is the most decorated and celebrated long distance runner - he’s the current Olympic champion and world record holder. He’s believed to be the greatest long distance runner ever and yet he recognised, he couldn’t run alone!
In all his ability and proof to back it up, in humility he acknowledged, he needed the help of others to make it across the line in time. I hear the Spirit’s encouragement, “Don’t run in isolation.” It doesn’t matter how naturally gifted you are, Kipchoge displayed vulnerability in saying, “I can’t do this alone, I need you to run with me.”
God is setting us up for success in this era but for you to fulfil all He has for you in the earth, it will require a team of people around you to champion you. This brings an end to all jealousy and comparison. He is calling His body to recognise the gift of the different parts and not to try to compete or be like the other but celebrate what they have to contribute and more than that, run so the other can be all they were created to be.
I sense this is an invitation from the Holy Spirit looking for our response. I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit the following:
Who am I called to set pace for in this season?
Who am I called to lay my life down for to see them advance?
Who are you going to break the headwind for so they don’t have to?
Who am I meant to come alongside to champion today?
You may find you are called to different ones in different seasons. Kipchoge’s team had different combinations of different runners at different times. But there was always a team consistently there who moved seamlessly in and out of the race. On the other hand there may be some that you’re called to go the entire distance with as well and that is equally as valuable. We can’t win without one another. As family this is what we do.
Hebrews 12:1-2 “Let us throw off everything that stops us and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.”
Jesus is the ultimate pace setter - let’s live like Him and lay our lives down for our friends as we run for them. By doing so I believe it will usher us into the fullness of this new era, positioning us for success as we esteem others above ourselves. The personal victory of individuals will become a corporate breakthrough for the body to enter into.
“Let love be the beautiful prize for which you run!” 1 Cor. 13:13
Gal. 5 22-23 TPT “But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.” This is the consistency of spirit in which we are called to run!