You may not think of yourself as an athlete. It’s not a way I describe myself. Yet the Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9 that we are running a race. He makes the comparison to a runner competing to win a temporary crown to us running our race for an eternal crown (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The author of Hebrews also tells us about a race we are running and gives us some directions about this event, the race of the Christian life. While there are probably more things to glean from this passage, I clearly see four points the writer is trying to convey to us from Hebrews 12:1-2.
First, he mentions how we are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.” Since he begins the verse with the word “therefore” one needs to see what precedes this phrase to best understand to what the author is referring. That would be Hebrews 11 or as some have referred to that chapter, the Hall Of Fame Of Faith. We are to look back and learn from those stories of Scripture and see the examples of faith, encouragement and instruction for us.
We are to take Inspiration from the Word.
Next, the author tells us to apply a degree of Discipline to our life. He says we are to “throw off” or some version says “cast off” that extra weight – extra baggage we are carrying around and along with that the “sin which so easily ensnares us.” All believers need to be disciplined in their walk and make it a point to get rid of those things which impede our progress. Those past hurts, failures etc. Further we need to jettison the sin that we dapple in. Sin is a bad thing and we need to cast it aside.
The third instruction he gives us is to run our race with Perseverance. Whether you prefer another word such as “endurance” or “patience,” the meaning is all the same. We are to not give up on this journey. It is long, hard and sometimes quite difficult. But we must continue.
Finally, in verse two he says we are to look to Jesus or Focus on Him. It is Him alone that we are to look to, not our own abilities or circumstances. Nor can we look to what others may or may not think of us, but we are to focus solely on Him.
So, here are our instructions for our Christian race:
- Inspiration – Take encouragement & direction from the Scripture
- Discipline – Throw off what is worthless or unnecessary
- Perseverance – Don’t give up but patiently endure
- Focus – We must look exclusively to Jesus
Too many of believers are stumbling through life and are not being successful in God’s call. They meander and struggle to hear Him. Some even think being a Christian is just a “Sunday” thing. Many aren’t taking this race seriously. It isn’t an easy task, but this race is one we all must run. Take some direction from Hebrews 12 and run the race that is “set before you.”
Blessings My Friend,