Running the Race
Well, the Olympics are upon us, and the track and field events are taking center stage. I don't know about you, but I look at these runners and marvel at their muscles, their stamina and their speed. They have prepared themselves to run - and run to win. How does someone run effectively?
Hebrews 12: 1-3 tells us how it is done.
First, we are to run LIGHT. Track stars wear the lightest shorts, shoes and shirts they can find so they are not dragged down by excess weight. You don't see many wearing raincoats or combat boots. We are encouraged to "lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us." (vs 1) What is it that weighs you down? Is there something that always raises it's head and trips you up when you want to run the race? We run effectively when we identify that sin, confess it and lay it aside. We are to run light.
Second, we are to run LOOKING. Good track coaches talk about the importance of not looking at your competition, but rather looking at the finish line. As believers we are to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith."(vs 2) When we concentrate on anything else we get ourselves in trouble. We compare ourselves with others, we loose sight of who we are to emulate (Jesus) or we head off in a wrong direction. Jesus is the beginner and finisher of our faith. We can only be an effective runner when we run looking at Him.
Finally, we are to run LONG. You have probably watched a track meet where someone started off at a blistering pace only to drop out of the race because they don't have the energy to finish. "For consider Him who has endured such hostility . . . so that you may not grow weary and lose heart." (vs 3) As Howard Hendricks says, "The Christian life is not a 100 yard dash, it is a marathon." If we don't realize that we are in for a long race, it is very easy to get discouraged, grow weary and perhaps lose heart. We avoid losing heart by remembering what Christ has done for us!
Effective runners rid themselves of excess baggage; they focus on the prize and not their circumstances; and they prepare themselves for a long race so that they don't lose heart and give up. May God give each of us the privilege of running well for Him.
Scripture: Hebrews 12: 1 - "Therefore since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."
Action Point: Which of these running practices do you need to apply today? A sin weighing you down? A misplaced focus on anything but Jesus? A weariness because you have forgotten what Christ has done for you? Don't let anything keep you out of the race.
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