Week 9 February 25 -
Our journey of following Jesus that first began after our initial conversion is often described as running a race.
And if there is one thing all believers can agree on, it is that this Christian race is a marathon and not a sprint.
At the beginning of the race when we first announce to the church that we want to give our lives to Christ, our baptism symbolizes a new number being pinned to our chest, and a new course that promises to lead us in a completely different direction. The excitement and encouragement we experience for entering this race is something most of us remember fondly during our first stages of Christian growth.
But, there does come a time if we run long enough that our lungs start to burn, and we no longer hear the cheers of the crowd who celebrated with us when we came out of the baptistry soaking wet.
This is why the writer of Hebrews wants to encourage all Christians to run our Christian race in a certain way that gives us the endurance necessary to cross the finish line.
In this passage, the writer is giving us all the basic instructions we need to run our race faithfully. He is simply calling us to do three things: (1) Learn from our saints (verse 1a); (2) Lay aside our sins (verse 1b); and (3) Look to our savior (verse 2).
First, to look to our saints means to find inspiration from the stories of other faithful Christians who have already finished their race well. Back one chapter in Hebrews 11, the author recounts the remarkable lives of biblical heroes such as Abraham, Moses, and David. These men are our “cloud of witnesses” who have blazed a trail for us and are beckoning us on to finish our course, so we can celebrate in eternity with them.
Second, we are called to lay aside our sins because everything we say, think, or do that disobeys the will of God sidetracks us from moving forward in the race. Sin is a weight that wears us down, and a distraction that destroys our focus. This passage is boldly charging us to cast aside every sin that would disqualify us for the race, and to keep running forward on the course that God has already set before us to complete.
Finally, we look to our savior Jesus Christ to help us in this race every step along the way. Only Christ can guide our tired legs through to the finish because He alone is our power, our perfecter, and our prize. This means that we get daily strength from Him to keep running; we get a promise that He will declare us perfect in the end because of His finished work on our behalf; and we get Christ himself as our ultimate prize when the race is over. We need to remember our race is primarily about pursuing a person and not a position. We were made to follow Jesus and to be with Jesus forever as His redeemed bride – the Church.
As the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Therefore, let us learn from God’s witnesses, by listening to God’s Word, and keep our eyes focused on God’s Son.
Learning How to Run for Your Life
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