Are you a runner? Do you enjoy running for competition? Exercise? Leisure?
If you’re like me, you WANT to enjoy running but sometimes, it’s just TOO HARD TO LOVE!
Hebrews 12:1-3 tells us that spiritually we are meant to “Run the Race that is marked out for us!”
This can pose many questions though:
- What does this mean?
- How do we get in the race?
- How hard is this race?
- Am I running it alone?
- What do I need to do?
The writer of Hebrews (some believe to be Paul) is writing to Hebrew Christians who at this time were probably undergoing fierce persecution, socially and physically. This was designed as a letter of encouragement to the Christians who may have been considering a return to Judaism at the time. The writer is encouraging and admonishing to reassure the people that Christianity is true and that Jesus was indeed the Messiah!
Sounds like us from time to time, huh? We all need encouragement throughout life – sometimes we need it more than we think.
The best part about this race: You are already registered and your cover charge has been PAID.
Verse 2(b) says that JESUS “…endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
God Bought Our Ticket for the Race
God already paid the price for you to be in this race, for you to have a relationship with Him and to know Jesus. He sent his Son down to this earth to live, die for your sins, and be raised again so that we can have freedom from our sins and a relationship with the REAL JESUS!
All we have to do is show up to the race, all we have to do is START RUNNING!
The scripture also tells us to “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” in verse 1. Let me ask you this: If you were about to start a big race, 5k, or Marathon, and you looked down and your shoe was untied, what would you do?
Would you just call it a day? Would you just say “Man, that darn shoe string again? I quit!”
Would you kneel down, tie it, and get back up READY TO RUN THAT RACE?
I hope you would fix it and get back up, not allowing the small things that hinder us from succeeding.
Things That Hinder
Just like an untied shoe string before a race, there are things that try to HINDER us from running this race – the writer of Hebrews tells us to THROW all those off and RUN THIS RACE!
That’s where perseverance comes in: “And lets us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…”
Perseverance = Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
This Spiritual race of Knowing God and following Jesus is going to have difficulties and trials.
Wait …. What? Yes – I am telling you that it may not be easy all the time, but it is worth it.
It is God’s plan for you to succeed, we just have to persevere.
If you are a running, or have ever run a small or large distance before you know that the beginning feels pretty good. Around the middle of your run, maybe mile 2 or 3 of a 4 mile run, it starts to get harder. Your body starts to ache, you don’t want to finish, you feel like walking. BUT if you keep pushing through that pain and difficulty, it really gets easier after that. Once your body adjusts and kicks into its next gear, you feel good on the back end of the run.
It is the same for us Spiritually. If we just persevere through the difficulties and trials, we learn something, we grow, and it gets a little easier after that.
You – Persevere. Yes – you! Keep running the race!
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
Finally, and my favorite part of this scripture: Fix your eyes on Jesus.
The scripture tells us in verse 1(b)-2 “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who finished the race. He crossed the finish line, even when it was HARD!
You know what it’s like: When you can’t see the finish line it gets difficult. You begin to doubt, lose heart, become weary, think it can’t be done, think about quitting.
DON’T! Don’t quit. Jesus is an incredible example of a man who walked this earth, faced persecution, was scorned, beaten, and humiliated for his Faith and his purpose – yet still finished.
The more you fix your eyes on Jesus the easier it becomes. Trials don’t seem so hard, difficulties seem small, and perspective comes into play. Jesus is STRONGER! Jesus is BIGGER!
I want to encourage you today: You can do this. You can fight the good fight. You can run this race. You can persevere. You can fix your eyes on Jesus.
Run this Race that has already been marked out for you and Run it with perseverance.