By SETH BUCKNER
Too many people do not finish their race. They give up, give in, or just plain quit. Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that the Christian life is going to be easy. In fact, often the opposite is true. That seems to be the idea in the book of Hebrews. These Christians were enduring a terrible time of trial and persecution. In light of that, the writer is attempting to encourage these weary, hurting believers to be faithful to the Lord and to continue to run their race.
Hebrews 12:1-2, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let
us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Jesus is our great example of a race finisher.
The author of Hebrews isn’t talking about a 100 yard dash. Instead, the author is referring to a marathon. A marathon is a race that requires endurance and preparation. I know that I am in no physical shape to run in a marathon, but I can be in the kind of spiritual shape it takes to run the Christian race.
When there is a race to be run, the wise runner must make careful preparations. The same is true in a spiritual race as well. We will never reach our fullest potential for the Lord until we are willing to make the preparations and sacrifices that are necessary for running the race. The Bible tells us here that Jesus ran “for the joy that was set before Him” Where is the joy in going to a cross? Where is the joy in dying like a common criminal? Where is the joy in being rejected by people you love? For Jesus, the joy was in what would happen when He finished His race.
We need to come to the place where we are able to look beyond the situations and circumstances of life and envision that day when we too will be home with the Savior. My prayer for myself is that when I reach the end of my race I might say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7.
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