And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Basketball was my sport in college, but in high school I was an avid track runner, My event was the gut wrenching 400 meters. Since you cannot merely go out and sprint an entire lap, this race required a strategy if you wanted to make it to the finish line. I never really wanted to be a 400 runner. Personally, the short 100 meter dash was right up my alley. But my coach saw my natural ability, along with my height and build, and placed me in the race where I could succeed with the proper training. God was preparing me for the future, because I’ve been running a hard race for most of my adult life.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 a
I’m very familiar with the verse Hebrews 12:1-2, but this was the first time it came across as a strategy for daily living. My life feels like a grueling 400 meters sometimes, but maybe I’ve been approaching the running all wrong.
We are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses God does not expect us to figure out our lives on our own. He actually discourages self-reliance and wants us to look to His perfect wisdom for living. Hebrews Chapter 11 is a list of people who showed great faith in the way that they lived, and they have been listed as witnesses for us to emulate.
Like most sporting events, there would be a crowd in the stands cheering on the runners when I ran. Knowing that others were watching made me want to push harder and run faster. People are watching how we handle daily life situations, and our actions can either inspire or discourage. Does the crowd around us witness us leaning on God when dealing with adversity and giving Him the credit when He grants us success?
Let us strip off every weight that hold us down Have you ever noticed what runners wear when they are racing? The outfits fit in a way that the runner will not be slowed down. Sin in our lives will slow us down from living the life that God intended for us, because it separates us from Him. Isaiah 59:2 says, “It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore.” Perfection is not expected, but God does require us to turn away from a lifestyle of habitual sin.
I will cover the rest of the verse in my next post. But in the meantime, I challenge you to look at your life as a race that you are running with God. What past experiences has He used to train you? Who could be encouraged by your testimony? What sins do you need to put away in order to live victoriously?