Running your life race well
February 4, 2012
It’s that time of the year when many turn their attention to the great athletic event known as the Super Bowl. At the same time, I like to also think of the great athletic contest called the “race” (of life) noted in the book of Hebrews 12:1-3.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us 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 it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him (Jesus) who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
These are challenging words and truly a fitting message for any Sunday. The passage is more inspiring when we consider the “great cloud of witnesses” it alludes to in the first verse. Much of chapter 11 notes the challenges of each event (race) the great characters of the Bible faced. As I think of the great football players, from this Sunday, that will likely be in the Hall of Fame, I think of people like Abraham, Isaac, Moses, Joshua and Rahab being in a hall of faith.
Hebrews 11:13 notes that they continued “living by faith” right up until they died. Yet, they “did not receive the things they were promised,” only seeing them from a distance. Verses 11:39-40 explains how they would be “commended” into a hall of faith. They “were all commended even though none of them received what had been promised. “God had planned something better” which is where we can join in as it notes, “so only together with us would they be made perfect.”
Each of us has our particular event. I like to recall when I ran the quarter mile in high school. Just as I had teammates in the stands that had their events, I see the great characters of my hall of faith cheering me on from the bleachers. The call to “throw off everything that hinders and entangles” reminds me of “stripping down” and warming up for my race.
Jesus, our coach as well as the author of our faith, displayed how we can achieve success, not by winning but by running the race that is set out for us with “perseverance.” Recall that we are told that “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor 5:17) and that “faith comes by hearing (as opposed to what we see), and hearing by the word we receive from God.” (Romans 10:17) In spite of what may appear to be a difficult challenge or obstacle in your particular “race,” let’s “fix our eyes on Jesus.”
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The writer’s words “looking at Him” brings me a picture of a coach standing just beyond the finish line. Run with “perseverance” knowing Jesus has run His race and stands with outstretched hands for you to exhaustingly collapse in His arms no matter what place we finish.
You’ll make it. Listen for the cheering from the bleachers as your hall of faith teammates cheer you on. I’m cheering for you.
Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.