How to Run the “Race”
I am not a runner. At times in my life I have thought that I would try to be a runner but I have never been able to consistently get out there and well….run. But though I am not a runner on the road or the track; I am, and so are you, a runner in the race of life. In Hebrews 12, near the end of a masterful argument about the superiority of Jesus Christ, the writer of Hebrews talks about this race of life and an important role that Jesus has in our race. Here is what is written in Hebrews 12:1-2: Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The first thing we are told is that we do not run the race alone. We are told that we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”. We don’t know who these witnesses are exactly, but I think the meaning is that there have been many others who have run the race before us, from whom we can gather encouragement as we run our race. I picture the people who line the course of a marathon cheering on the runners. We are not running a race that is unique to us. The hills and valleys that we face while we run have been faced and successfully navigated, by many others before us.
The second thing we are to do is to lay aside the sin that can ensnare us. I’ve seen many races on TV and I’ve never seen a runner wearing a backpack of bricks! In fact, the runners seem to make sure that they are free of any and all weight. Competitive marathoners seem to look like they are running away from the dinner table! Extra weight hinders the runner. Why would we want to run our race with a backpack of sin? We have already read in Hebrews how we can take that sin to Jesus to receive forgiveness and real help to break any pattern of sin that would hinder our race.
Finally, we are told to look to Jesus as we run. I’m sure that at the end of a long race the finish line is a welcome sight. Perhaps runners even have a mental picture of that finish line that they can use to keep them motivated as they run. We have Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith, to look to as we run. Because of Jesus we know that we can run the race well and finish it strong.
Let’s take advantage of the truth of this passage of Hebrews as we run our race today…lace up those “shoes” and get on the course…with Jesus…who shows us how to run the “race”.