HOW TO RUN YOUR RACE
HEBREWS 12:1-3 NKJV
1 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 ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 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.
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
The first thing we have to address is for those who have never considered the idea that they are in a race. We are all a part of the Body of Christ, and there are no unused parts of His Body. So, we all have a race to run while we are on Earth.
Exciting? Actually, this is good news because it speaks to the idea that we have a purpose. My race is not yours and vice versa, but thankfully, we are not mere spectators in God's plan.
The writer of Hebrews refers to the witnesses that are surrounding us, who are all the champions of faith in chapter eleven. We have people who have gone before us and pleased God with their faith in Him. They are the ones cheering us on from the grandstands of heaven.
We are in a race, and there are runners who have gone before us. How do we run this race? First, we have to remove the things that slow us down. The weights would be those things that are not sin but are not helping us. Many of the distractions available in this life come to mind, not sins but not helping.
And then we have to put aside the sins that easily tangle us up. The writer does not list specific sins, but they can vary from person to person. What may easily trip me up may not bother you at all. This is just another good reason we are not to judge.
Then, the writer speaks of our focus as we run our race. And this focus applies to everyone. We differ in the races we run and may differ in the things that hold us up, but we can all have a similar focus. We look to Jesus, who is the beginning and end of our faith. He is our great example of faith. For by faith, He endured the cross and handled the shame and has now sat down in the place of highest authority at the right hand of God.
We look to Him because He endured intense hostility from sinners. Remember, this book was written to people under pressure from their Jewish environment. Also, Christianity was not universally accepted in the days these words were written. Believers also faced pressure from a pagan society that did not accept the idea of one God and His Son dying for the world. The writer is encouraging the believers to look to the One who endured so that they would not be weary and discouraged in their minds and emotions. These believers were going through a great ordeal, but then so did Jesus.
We may not face the same persecution these Jewish believers faced, but we still have to deal with pressure, and we still have a race to run. And the principles and instructions that applied then are still applicable today.
We still have to lay aside the weights and sins that trip us up and hold us back. The good news here is that the writer did not treat this admonishment as an impossible task. And if this inspired word says do it, then we can.
We still need to look to Jesus as our hero, champion, and example. He is where our faith starts, and He is the one who will work in us until the end. That word 'finisher' is actually perfecter or the one who completes.
We still must consider what Jesus endured for us so we don't stop living by faith and give up. There was a joy set before Jesus. He believed that what He was doing was for all mankind and it would be good. We must believe that what we do for Him while running our race will turn out for good - for us and for God's kingdom. So we also can run our race with joy.
Lord, thank You for what You have done and for Your example. I purpose to look to You and run my race with endurance and joy!