Running the Right Race
“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.” — Hebrews 12:1
The Bible often uses the analogy between the life of a Christian and running a race. That race begins when someone becomes a Christian, and the race continues until that person dies or Christ returns, whichever comes first.
Lay aside every weight: Runners don’t run a race with weights on their wrists or ankles. They run wearing short shorts, shirts without sleeves, and shoes that are lightweight. Why? So they can run as hard and fast as they possibly can. They want nothing to impede their progress going forward. Think of the things in this life that weigh us down and what they do to our spiritual progress. They dim our desire for Christ. They stop us from praying to God. They frustrate our faith. They prevent us from running this race as hard and fast as we possibly can. Those weights could include worrying, working too much, attitudes, and any sin in our life. If there’s anything that slows you down in any way, lay it aside. If you don’t, you can’t run the race and never get the real reward.
Run with endurance: Thayer defines endurance as a “characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose.” As Christians, we have purpose, do we not? What we do and how we live is not by accident. And we must have endurance because the race we are running is treacherous. There are pitfalls and potholes, uphill climbs and downhill collisions. They come in all different sizes and at all different stages of life. Bottom line: When it comes to running this race, it ain’t easy. We don't have the ability to call timeout, nor is there a halftime. So when real life happens, and you find yourself struggling, you have a choice to make: To keep running or to quit. And the choice you make is largely decided on whether you have endurance.
Run the race: Walking around the track won’t get you the real reward. If you want the reward, you must run. Paul teaches us to discipline ourselves in I Cor. 9:24-27. Let’s run this race. Let’s run this race together. Let’s not make excuses, but instead, pick up the pace. It’d be better for the cause of Christ. It’d be better for the brethren around you. It’d be better for you. Because it’s the only way you’re going to get the real reward.
-- Steven Matthews