The Race Is On

“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, 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

This text is sometimes represented as there being a giant stadium filled with believers who have gone before us observing (witnesses of) us and cheering for us to be faithful. In reality it represents a stadium filled with believers testifying (witnesses) of the faithfulness of the Lord. With their testimony to encourage us, the metaphor of a race illustrates some important life principles, such as:

A fascinating statistics show that 100% of those who win a race… start it. To win, you have to begin. If you want to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, you have to start. A resolute determination is the motivation needed. If not now, when?

One of the first experiences a runner has is a desire to quit. The first part is the hardest. Pushing through that zone is called getting a second wind.

The initial time in the start of your spiritual pilgrimage might well be the first part. Satan throws all he can against you. Expect it.

Qualities that are helpful in spiritual growth are identified in II Peter 1:5 – 9. “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” Note a key factor is “perseverance,” that is, in a non-word word stick-to-it-tiveness, or hang in there.

Life being more like a marathon than a sprint, it is necessary to have checkpoints by which to measure your pace.

In high school our 4-by-4 track team lost a member at the last minute due to an injury. Pete, who was a sprinter, was called on to fill in. Other members of the team gathered around Pete to give him a crash course in how to run the race cautioning him not to start off too fast, but to pace himself and reserve enough to finish strong. Instead Pete took off like the sprinter he was leaving everyone in his wake. Within about 100 yards to go Pete burned out and slowed to finish last.

Establish a challenging, but reasonable growth routine and maintain it.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty.”