ARE YOU RUNNING AND WINNING THE RACE?
It is easy for our imagination to take us to the stands of an Olympic stadium, and watching the conclusion of a marathon run. The writer to Hebrews paints this picture of i being in the race and many people watching us as we head for the finishing line. WE read in Heb. 12:1-2 NKJV 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, 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.
NLT 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. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
PASSION As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us.
We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because his heart was focused on the joy of knowing that you would be his, he endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!
MESSAGE 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.
The Bible uses numerous illustrations of what happens when we are born again, we are for example enlisted in an army and have to learn to deal with our enemies. We join a new family God’s family, and begin to enjoy the privileges of sonship.
Here the writer tells us we joined a marathon race, and must learn how to effectively run the race.
Please meditate on these various translations and may the Holy Spirit teach us and help to run and win the race.
This is not an occasional race, but a 24/7 race, we can never have a holiday, we must RUN WITH ENDURANCE, and like a marathon runner, remove any and all excess clothing that would hinder our race. The PASSION Translation says this includes, not harbouring unforgiveness against those that have hurt us, we are the loser if we don’t lay these things down. We must daily pray David’s prayer in Psalm 139:23 NKJV Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Our eyes (focus) must continually be on Jesus, and His death and resurrection and ever remind ourselves Jesus shed His blood for our forgiveness and restoration, but also to focus on Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father ever living to make intercession for us. For without His support and constant assistance we will never finish the race successfully.
I said in the introduction that we can visualise being seated in an Olympic stadium and watching the race, but the writer to Hebrews also tells us, that there is constant cloud of witnesses not only those that are alive in our world but also those who have won the race and entered eternity. I thank God for those who are watching me, and are praying for me, that I will have the wisdom and the strength to keep on running and be victorious.
Please be encouraged that there are those I am sure who are praying for you, and I am so thankful that Jesus is ever living to make intercession for us, we are destined to win, have a blessed weekend.