Running the Race

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (Heb. 12:1)

Isn’t it wild how the Spirit uses everyday things to remind us of truth and encourage us to live passionate lives?  The simple things often remind me of the truth found in God’s Word. One evening this happened to me while watching television and the encouragement found in Hebrews 12 came to mind. The program was showing a video from a high school track meet and began with the racers lined up, waiting for the starting pistol to sound. Crouched down in the traditional set position, the runners were concentrating on the race about to begin. As the sound of the pistol rang out the runners were off and the pack quickly separated into individuals. As the lead runners pulled away the ones left behind seemed to give up; all but one of them that is. This young fellow continued to run all out. He didn’t seem to notice he was falling behind. His face was set and even though he had no hope of winning, he was giving his all. Cheeks billowing with the effort to capture oxygen, with long strides and arms pumping he raced to the finish line. Crossing the line, his feet became tangled and he fell, face first, onto the track. The studio audience began to laugh, but his passion was inspiring to me and he has become an example to me of perseverance. His goal was to finish the race and he did it with all his mind, soul, and strength. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to live our lives with the same passion, to throw off those things that slow us down and persevere. That is what the young man did—he persevered. Keeping his eye on the goal he didn’t give up or let up.  He threw everything he had into the effort and that is exactly how scripture tells us to live our lives. Hebrews 12:1-3 says:

Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of his goal—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!  (The Message)

As we consider our race let us ask ourselves some questions. What things are slowing me down today? Is it my busy schedule? Perhaps my lack of love for others is impeding my race. Sometimes it is my self-absorption. What sin am I harboring today that is holding me back?

I want to run all out, fixing my eyes on Christ—I want to finish the race totally exhausted, falling face first at the feet of Jesus.