Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnare us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1-2
I’m certain several of you watched the 2012 Olympics and enjoyed seeing the athletes compete. Consider, in particularly, track and field.
Did you see any of the athletes stop running prior to the end of the race? Although they knew the possibility of coming in last, no one gave up. They kept running to the finish. At least I didn’t see anyone give up. Did you?
In order to make it to the Olympics they had to have a “made-up” mind…an absolute resolve that said I’m in the race to run, and I want to win. It’s a chance of a lifetime to win the gold! Therefore, they trained and exercised to be physically fit. They worked hard to achieve their goal. They believed in themselves; others believed in them and cheered them on. They remained focused and motivated. They didn’t allow negative thoughts, doubt and unbelief to keep them from running. The spirit of defeat and hopelessness didn’t overwhelm them to the point of giving up. Of course, they knew from the start that everyone couldn’t win the gold, but they didn’t lose hope.
The above is an analogy with spiritual significance and truth. However, I’m convinced that as Christians, we have an advantage in running our race. In the above passage, Apostle Paul encourages us not to give up by reminding us of all those before us who are now in the Faith Hall of Fame (chapter eleven). Their faith should motivate and inspire us. They are our invisible witnesses cheering us on. However, they did not have the advantage we have today—the Cross. You probably never thought about Jesus’ death on the cross as being an advantage for us. Relating to Jesus’ earthly race of endurance that ended in death on the cross, but resulted in victory for us through His resurrection is our greatest motivation to keep running in life’s Christian race. He is the Source of our faith, and the only One who completes it. He empowers us to stay in the race! Once we make up our minds to stay focused on Him, not get distracted by the naysayers and spectators on the sidelines, but instead stay in spiritual shape, we can keep running to the finish line. Still, it is our personal responsibility to do whatever it takes to stay in life’s marathon of faith—such as rid ourselves of everything that weighs us down, and the sin that trips us up and causes us to fall. If we fall, get back up and keep running! We must believe in Jesus Christ and remember all those in the Hall of Faith are cheering us on.
Best of all, in this race, we are all winners if we keep running. Stay spiritually fit through much prayer, praise, worship and the study of God’s Word. Jesus is our role model. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Study Him. He stayed focus on His goal—He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside the Father’s throne.
Keep running! The Holy Spirit will remind you of the glorious future that awaits you when you finish the race, and receive your reward…a gold medal? No! better than that…eternal life!
Here’s the truth: You are in a win-win race! Keep running!