Hebrews 12:1-2 New International Version
1 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,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Our Christian journey is a “spiritual growth” process. A life-long process.
Let us use the metaphor of a long-distance race.
Start by imagining that we are competing in a huge colosseum, with a great crowd watching us and cheering us on.
We would obviously make sure that we are not be carrying excess baggage or weight, in order to be able to run our fastest.
As we run the race, we must realize that this is a marathon and not a sprint, so we should run the race with the goal of endurance in mind.
As we run down the track and make the oval turns, we must keep our eyes focused straight ahead. We can’t make the mistake of looking behind us or to our side to see where everyone else is at, as this would definitely slow us down.
The disciplined long-distance runner does all these things;
- The crowd does not bother him or her.
- They only wear their lightweight running clothes with no extra weight to carry.
- They realize that they must pace themselves to have the endurance they need to finish.
- Finally, they do not look behind them or to the side, as this would only break their concentration and slow them down.
The Christian Race
So, you may be asking, how does this apply to our Christian life? Our journey of spiritual growth?
As we run live our Christian life, we must not be burdened down with any type of sin or guilt and there must be nothing that hinders us. We must be focused on God and obedience to Him. We must be disciplined and keep our eyes on Jesus.
We must realize that all Christians start out at the same place, having a life of spiritual growth ahead of us. Therefore, we understand this race is not a sprint but a life long journey and will require perseverance and endurance.
Finally, all Christians start out at different times and grow at different rates. It should be of no concern who is behind us, who is ahead of us or who is at our current spiritual growth status. All that should concern us is pressing on toward the prize that awaits us.
This most important of all races requires focus, discipline, obedience and endurance. It requires faith, trust and prayer. It requires a close communion with God. It requires keeping our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.
It is not about coming in first or second. It is about pressing on and finishing the race.
As we cross the finish line, the angels will carry us to our eternal home with God.
Philippians 3:14 New International Version
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 4:7 New International Version
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.