HOW IS YOUR RACE GOING?
The Bible and I think especially the New Testament uses excellent illustrations to help us to understand what the Christian life is all about. I want us to look at a couple of verses that illustrates this, I want you to first imagine yourself sitting in an Olympic stadium watching the athletics program, especially the running both shorter distances and also the end of the marathon. Then after we have watched others running, again let us use our spiritual imagination and see ourselves running as described by the writer of the book of Hebrews he tells us in Hebrews 12:1-2 AMP.N.T. Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The MESSAGE Bible says Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
I am sure all my readers can think of numerous people who ran the race so well, their lives and lifestyle impacted you so much, it so provoked you so much that it made you hungry and thirsty to be such a person too. Let us ever remember that we ourselves the Bible says are epistles or letters being read constantly, are our lives provoking and challenging others by how we run the race?
Now let us think about being on the track and running the race, the writer to Hebrews says we must strip down, and LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT, that would hinder and hold us back from winning the race. Here is a question for you ARE YOU CARRYING EXCESS WEIGHT (or baggage)? The AMP.N.T. suggests it can be something quite subtle that DEFTLY & CLEVERLY CLINGS TO US AND ENTANGLES US, there must me no spiritual fat or parasitic sins. Let us clearly hear the Lord speak to us, and show us what these things are, so that we can with PATIENT ENDURANCE AND STEADY AND ACTIVE PERSISTENCE. We cannot afford to relax for a moment, as our flesh and the enemy of our souls will seek to trip us up.
So what do we need to do? Refuse to let anything DETRACT US, we must constantly have our eyes not on the finishing tape but ON JESUS, for He is the SOURCE OF OUR FAITH, He gives the FIRST INCENTIVE and wants to see us FINISH the race. This race is GOD’S MATURING AND PERFECTING PROGRAM for us. We can look to Jesus as our perfect example and source of our needed strength because He won His race, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father EVER LIVING TO MAKE INTERCESSION FOR US.
The other verse which I think relates to this beautiful picture, when a runner gets near to the finishing line HE WILL STRETCH FORWARD so his body is over the line. Phil. 3:13 AMP N.T. tells us I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and STRAINING forward to what lies ahead, again we cannot afford to relax but ever realise the Christian life is NOT A SHORT SPRINT BUT A MARATHON, so we must be thinking about the goal as well, and that becoming the constant thought and practice in our life.
So how is the race going for you ? It sure isn’t easy at times, but God has made available to us EVERYTHING WE NEED TO WIN, 2 Peter 1:3 NLT tells us By his divine power, God has GIVEN US EVERYTHING we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
We are all in this race together, let us also support and encourage each other, FOR GOD WANTS ALL OF US TO WIN. God bless you.