"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2
This blog is called Running the Race for a reason and these verses are part of the reason. So, obviously this is a chapter of Hebrews that is going to be fun for me to write about. Today I want to focus on a few ways to run the race successfully.
1) Remember we aren't the first people to run this race.
Hebrews chapter 11 is known as something of a faith hall of fame. Hebrews chapter 12 begins with the word "therefore". The therefore is there for the purpose of helping us remember that we aren't the first to run this race. Others have run the race with great success; knowing this should inspire us to keep on running because it can be done.
2) Throw off hindrances.
The writer of Hebrews says hindrances and sin. I think he does this because hindrances aren't necessarily bad things. To run the race well we need to prioritize. Many a good thing will keep us from God things. We need to prioritize our lives to maximize the strengths God designed in us. Throw off hindrances to run the race well.
3) Remove sins.
Sin trips us up. The writer of Hebrews says that sin entangles us, we get caught up in sin. This is because unlike hindrances that may weight us down sin is actually out to destroy us. If we don't remove sin we will be strangled by it. If we don't remove sin, we will stop running the race.
4) Run with perseverance.
The race toward Christlikeness is not a sprint; it is a marathon. In our lives we may slow down, but we are never to stop moving toward Christ. Our race may become a walk or a crawl, but Christians are called to move forward. We must persevere. Perseverance is one of the cornerstones of our faith, so keep on keeping on.
5) Fix your eyes on Jesus.
We are told at first that the saints of old are our motivation, but above and beyond that our motivation is Christ Jesus our Lord. Christ is the author and perfecter of our faith and He is the goal of our faith. We run toward Jesus. Like a greyhound runs toward the rabbit on the track we too are to run toward Jesus with abandon. Jesus Christ has blazed the trail for us. He marked the race for us. We aren't left guessing what route our race goes. We don't have to search for some secret personal calling when running the race. Not at all, we are called to run the race marked out for us by fixing our eyes on Jesus. This means we run toward Jesus and no runner can run blindly, so fix your eyes on the prize.
Hebrews chapter 12 is packed with even more great truths so please read it. But above all I want you to remember to run your race today. Even if you only take a few steps, even if you walk rather than run, continue to move toward Christlikeness. Run with perseverance the race marked out for you today.