“Blood Doping”

Prep work for Lord’s Day message has me thinking how far-reaching Holy Scripture is. The so-called ancient, err archaic Prophet Isaiah said, “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you;” – Isaiah 5-6.

Because my first calling was to be a coach and so much of my early years were spent running, lifting, and exercising I grid much of my discipleship through such a model. I remember those flying “Finns,” and my hero, Steve Prefontaine, on the national scene and icon in the track and field world. There was some question in the Olympic games in the 70s as to whether the Finns were engaged in what is now known as blood doping.

From a non-scientific and simplistic viewpoint, it is the technique of taking one’s own blood at peak performance levels of training, holding that blood until competitive performances necessitated the reintroduction of that blood loaded with the oxygen carrying hemoglobin, thus increasing one’s oxygen levels and driving maximum performance, and so the theory goes. There are indeed serious risks to such a process.

As a follower of Jesus I am convinced that the link between the “air” we breathe, and what Isaiah links here, “breath & spirit” are crucial to having the stamina to live out a life of discipleship, what Jesus and Paul spoke of as Life in the Spirit. It is indeed Jesus’ “blood” that carries His Spirit, his breath to every cell of my, our being without which we will not be in this faith journey with him very long.

Remember, after Jesus rose from the darkness of death he extended his “breath, his Spirit” to those frightened behind those locked doors. Isaiah saw, that One would come and breathe new life into us. This One would give us that blood transfusion leading to life. There are only two kinds of people in the world, those who “suck the life and spirit out of others,” and those who have the “spirit of Jesus leaving it wherever they go.” Which are you? Lets run the race he has set before us, knowing that there are risks to those willing to carry his blood and spirit into a broken world.

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