This Is A Race
Hebrews 12:1-2 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
Let’s just dive into these verses, as it creates such a vivid illustration of life itself. We’re running a race here – life isn’t just a time to walk around blindly. We were placed in this exact time and this exact place for a reason! So if life is a race, what’s the end? Well, death & eternal life. Let’s not overlook the fact that it’s a race – not in the sense that we are trying to get there quicker, but in the sense that there is limited time. It has an end. It is unidirectional, meaning you can’t turn back. We have no time to waste keep going astray without a goal. Now what’s the goal of this race, and of life itself? It’s to bring as many people with us on this race. Make followers of Christ and disciple them, so they may make more followers of Christ.
For most of us, that goal makes things hard enough. Regarding this goal, we all face doubt, questions, fear- what if the person already knows about and rejects Christ? What if they will turn it back upon me, and try to bring me to their religion? (sidenote: Christianity is not a religion! It’s a relationship & a revelation – more in a later post) What if they bring up a question I can’t answer? This all equates to a hesitation, a slowing down of our pace. But even beyond that, as the verse mentions, we have weights slowing us down more! Obviously, those have to come off. What are they though? First one is already mentioned- sin. Any sort of sin pattern will drag us down. Lust grabs the heart and trips us. Greed pulls us away. Anger and jealousy blocks out the compassion we need to have for others. If you have any sort of sin pattern, confess it to God. Repent of it (change) – make a detailed plan on how to stop the habit, and get accountability partners who can pray with you and for you. It’s not ‘just a little habit’. Even something seeming small and innocent is not good. It’s drawing us away and will continue even more so. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us that our adversary satan prowls like a lion, seeking someone to devour. How does he devour us? Drowning us in sin. What else weighs us down though? False priorities. Anything that comes before the goal of the race is dragging us down. Is all of your effort going into your career? Hobby? A person? Not saying those things are wrong. Those are great opportunities to spread the Gospel – but if you’re spending all your time on those things and not those around us who need Jesus, something needs to change. There are probably many more ‘weights’, but those are probably the main ones.
We have the ending line established, the goal of the race, the ‘opponents’; by now it seems pretty impossible and we start to wonder why run this race at all? First part of Hebrews 12:2 tells us. Jesus Christ is the only way we make it through! By His power and His inspiration we can do it. The “Champion who initiates and perfects our faith” starts our race, and coaches us as we continue. Now- when you run, do you look down at the ground? At your shoes? Or where you are running to? Keeping your eyes on Christ will help you from tripping and falling, and will keep you from slowing down. When you see His passion for those He died for, you won’t be tempted to spend your life after your own desires. When you see where the nails went in His hands, you won’t want to sin, as your sin drove those nails in the first place. What happens if you do trip though? Say you do have a sin pattern slowing you down. Say you’re not motivated enough and miss an opportunity. Don’t stay down! Get up! Grace is amazing – it allows you another chance. Ask for forgiveness, ask for His help to change, and ask for accountability partners. This race is too short to waste any time.
The BOTTOM LINE: This isn’t a life without a purpose. It’s a race, and others’ lives are on the line.