Imagine the runners prepped at the starting line. The crowd cheers, shouting words of encouragement. The starting gun is fired and the race begins. The stadium erupts into a roar. Then when the finish line is crossed the sound is almost deafening.
Imagine you’re that runner and that the crowd is cheering for you!
That’s the image at the beginning of Hebrews 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith.Hebrews 12:1a
In the crowd are those in the “Hall of Faith” mentioned in chapter 11. So are all the people God has used to touch your heart and impact your faith.
You have faithfully prepared and you’re dressed for speed. You’ve shed the things that would slow you down or hinder your performance.
Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.Hebrews 12:1b
It’s easy to picture that for the runner but how does it look for the believer?
The guilt and shame of sin, as well as sin itself, are things that burden us and keep us from doing our best.
So we repent and ask God to remove our guilt and shame . . . and transform us by His grace and mercy. Because this is not a sprint. This race requires strength and endurance.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.Hebrews 12:1c
We’ve seen several elite athletes struggle this year as the emotional toll of training and competing and life felt like to great a burden to carry.
And truthfully, it’s hard for followers of Jesus right now. Sometimes the testing and trials of our faith can be stumbling blocks to running a successful race. So, maybe the most important thing for us as we run this race is that we never lose sight of the goal…
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.Hebrews 12:2a
The LAB notes add:
When we face hardship and discouragement [when the race is hard] it is easy to lost sight of the big picture. But we’re not alone.
We have a “huge crowd of witnesses” who are cheering us on. And we have Jesus, who gives us everything we need to successfully run our race.
A Prayer to Run the Race God’s Way
Father, I need Your help to run the race of life the way You want me to. Your Word says that I was created for Your glory ( Isaiah 43:7), that You have plans and purposes for my life (Jeremiah 29:11), and that You will teach me and guide me in the way I should go (Psalm 32:8).
Please forgive me for trying to run without first laying down my burdens of sin, guilt, and shame. You so generously offer me Your grace and mercy and I often allow pride and self-righteousness to get in the way. I allow lack of repentance to weigh me down. I am so sorry. I come to You with the burdens of my sin and ask You to pardon me and make me more like my Savior, Jesus.
Please help me to trust You with all my heart. Help me fully surrender myself to Your will for me. And please help me focus on Jesus that I might live for Your glory.
I thank and praise You for making me Your child. By the power of Your Spirit, help me run the race You have set before me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Please give me the courage and strength I need to faithfully endure and remain full of hope as I anticipate the wonderful future You have promised me in Christ Jesus. In whose name, I pray. Amen.
Marathons are long and hard but they are won one step at a time.
And you and I live our lives one step at a time. The road before us may be filled with bumps, detours, and distractions but when we keep our eyes on Jesus we can persevere in faith.
Oswald Chambers wrote:
“Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”
We have a “huge crowd of witnesses” cheering us on.
And an important promise to remember:
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13
Jesus will faithfully give us the strength we need along the way when we keep our focus on His one step at a time.
On today’s note write:
Jesus gives me what I need to run the race of life and reach the goal.
May God bless you today as you persevere in faith.
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