The post below was written by my dear friend and fellow worker in Christ Jesus who chose to remain anonymous. She is a beautiful woman of God, a wife and mother who has an insatiable desire for the things of God. I bless God for her life.
Have you ever seen an athlete begin a race without understanding how to run to the finish line or knowing the prize to be awarded at the end?
In Hebrews 12:1, Apostle Paul tells us that a race has been set before us and in 1 Corinthians 9:24, he instructs us to run in such a way as to obtain the prize.
Our race begins at the moment of salvation when we declare with our mouths that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9).
The dos and don’ts of the race
Paul gives us two important insights about this race that has been set before us in Hebrews 12:1:
- He tells us to eliminate whatever will hinder our race…”let us lay aside every weight and sin which so easily ensnares us.”
- He tells us how to run the race…”let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
Therefore, it is our responsibility as believers to:
- Lay aside every weight, burden, or encumbrance that will take our attention from Jesus.
- Lay aside every sin which surrounds us.
- Daily run with endurance, and patience faithfully obeying God in good times, trials, tragedies, sufferings, or whatever may happen (James 1:2, Romans 8:35-37).
- Daily keep our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. We do this when we seek to live our lives to please Christ. In Colossians 3:1-2, we are instructed by Paul, to seek after those things which are above (heavenly) where Christ is seated and to set our affections ( direct and focus our minds) on things above not on things on earth. For those who set their mind on earthly things, their end is destruction (Philippians 3:18-19).
Sadly, without being aware, a lot of believers do not have their eyes fixed on Jesus and are no longer running the race God has set before them.
We still attend church, but it has become a ritual. As praise and worship is going on, we stand as spectators, cold and unresponsive. We are more passionate about a sports game than joining in excitement to praise with careless abandon the One who has redeemed us from eternal damnation (Psalm 122:1, Psalm 92:1, Psalm 107:32).
We have time to do everything from entertaining ourselves to spending copious amount of time on the internet. But we don’t find time to feed our spirit with the Word of God nor do we spend time in prayer to receive from God spiritual strength to handle our daily challenges (Joshua 1:8, James 1:21, Colossians 3:16).
In the end, we live our lives gratifying the flesh. We speak, act, and respond to situations just like the world!
Running on the narrow way
We cannot run our race on the broad way that leads to destruction and expect a different outcome. In Matthew 7:13, Jesus tells us where each way leads to. The race that has been set before the children of God must be run on the way that leads to life. Jesus tells us plainly that the gate will be NARROW. That is why Paul in Hebrews 12:1 instructs us to lay aside every weight and sin. There is simply no room to accommodate them on the narrow way. Jesus tells us plainly that the way that leads to life will be DIFFICULT. Again, that is why Paul in Hebrews 12:1-2 advices us that we have need of endurance as we set our minds to live to please Christ.
Let us encourage one another to run this race.
Our prize is not perishable. It is not subject to corruption or decay (1 Corinthians 9:25, 2 Timothy 4:7-8).
In the book of Revelation, Jesus promises great and amazing eternal rewards to everyone who will be victorious to the very end (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26-28, Revelation 3:5, 12, 21). We need to meditate on these promises and follow the example of Jesus who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross disregarding its shame and is now sitting at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2b).
Finishing the race
We can finish this race!
Paul stated in Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’’ The strength to run our race comes from God and not us (Hebrews 4:16). So in His power, start running daily with endurance. Laying aside every weight and sin that surrounds you, with a determination to live to please Him and to finish the race that has been set before you by God.
If anyone of you has dropped out of the race, it is never too late to get back on the way which leads to life and remember to encourage as many believers as you can along the way.
Except where indicated, Scriptures are taken from the NIV.