Putting God's Word into Practice…

Hebrews 12:1-2 Life is a Race

on July 23, 2013

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

The race of life is set before each man, the finish line is death, and none know how close the finish line is for them!  The good news for those of us who trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord have a cheering section along the way!

This past year about four weeks before a half-marathon I was registered to run, I tore my calf muscle and needed six weeks of physical therapy.  This left me on the sidelines of the race to encourage other runners. Since I had done the race before, I knew what was encouraging to hear along the way.  If I could read the runner’s name on their bib, I’d say, “Kerri, you look great!  Don’t quit!” or “Tom, you are amazing!” This is how I picture the spiritual race of life with Moses, Abraham, Joseph, King David, Samson, etc…shouting to us, “Keep going!  You can do it!”  And God the Father and Jesus at the finish line saying, “Here she comes!”

So our lives are a race, we have a cheering section, there is a finish line, but how should we run until we arrive there?

  1. Unencumbered!  Lay aside EVERY weight and sin which clings so closely!  Sin, burdens, bad habits, earthly ambition, material possession accumulation, unhealthy relationships…anything that slows us down must go!  Just like the abandoned clothes one sees along a race path!
  2. With endurance.  I was shocked to find the definition of endurance being:  power of enduring unpleasant and difficult process or situation without giving way; capacity to withstand wear and tear.  Some synonyms are stamina, fortitude, tenacity, perseverance, and determination.  Life–our race–is not always easy or pleasant.  I’ve often thought of endurance as going the distance, but it is so much more.  It is pushing through obstacles, hardships, opposition just like the cloud of witnesses who surrounds us did–by faith!  Strong faith is the fuel of endurance!
  3. With our eyes fixed on Jesus!  Jesus endured; He finished strong!  He laid aside anything that would have stopped Him from fulfilling His purpose for His earthly life.  He starts and perfects our faith.  Jesus gives us the fuel to endure.  When we take our eyes off Jesus we become lazy, complacent, comfortable, and easily swayed and knocked down by life.
  4. With joy.  Jesus endured with joy because he knew what His pain was accomplishing–namely, the salvation of the world!  We also have hope for the other side of the finish line.  The promise of seeing Jesus face-to-face and to paraphrase Dr. Joe Stowell, “Seeing His nail-scarred hands reach out to welcome us home.”

How am I running?  What’s holding me back from giving my all in the race?  On what are my eyes fixed?  What is the reading of my faith and joy gauges?


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