As you see the Olympics or any sporting event, may it remind you of how the Christian life is like a race. At the end of Paul's life, he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). I long for all of us to one day say this! But how can we? Well Hebrews 12:1-2 has three lessons that will help us run the race of faith.
1. Run motivated by past examples
Hebrews 12:1a says “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. In chapter 11 of Hebrews the Old Testament heroes of the faith have been listed. Here we see that they are examples for us to be motivated by. They are witnesses to the fact that the life of faith is worth enduring. They confirm that God keeps his promises. When the Christian life gets tough, look to past examples to see that it is worth it.
2. Run by getting rid of all that entangles you
Hebrews 12:1b says “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Don’t just throw off sin, but anything that hinders you from running the race. If there is anything in your life that slows you down in chasing after God, then get rid of it! It is not worth holding onto anything that stops you from enduring in the Christian life.
3. Run looking to the perfect example (and prize)
Hebrews 12:2 says “Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Look at Christ and consider how He endured. May it encourage you to endure, knowing that the joyful end we have makes it all worth it. And fix your eyes on Jesus in faith, knowing that He who began your faith will bring it to completion.
I encourage you to run in the Christian life with endurance. When everything in you says ‘Stop!’, keep on running! When everything and everyone around you says ‘it’s not worth following Jesus’, don’t listen, and keep on running! Run the race with perseverance! And know that if you are a Christian, you will endure in faith, because Jesus is the author and perfector of your faith.