THE RACE OF OUR LIFE IS ON. And we should be winners. The grandstands of heaven are full of celebrity fans cheering us on. But to be winners we must prepare for the race of our life. Everything that will slow us down or stop us from moving forward must be cast aside. We can’t wear it or carry it. It must be cast off. On top of that this is a long race and we must develop perseverance to be winners. The writer of the book of Hebrews describes the race like this: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart,” (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV).
The book of Hebrews, preceding these verses, has just described some of God’s heroes of The Faith in chapter 11. Here are men and women who under tremendous pressure and difficult circumstances ran the race of life loving and serving God. For many this meant torture, death and heavy burdens. For others it was a life of great victories and acclaim and for others a life of ridicule, shame, and prison. But one thing marked all of those heroes of chapter 11 and that was their faith in God. Now it is our turn to run the race and it is serious business.
Each of us must discern what is in our life that hinders us from living for and serving Jesus totally and completely. What sins have us so entangled in the world system of today that we can’t make God and His kingdom the most important part of our life? Each of us must search our own hearts and lives to arrive at that answer. We must get rid of those things and put on our running shoes for Jesus. The race of life is set before us and we must set our eyes on Jesus, the starter and the finisher of our faith. Jesus is our example and we need to set our eyes on Him like He set His eyes on the cross. He did what it took to provide salvation for us and He willingly went through the pain and humiliation of being nailed to the cross without flinching. There was no thought of not finishing the task set before Him.
But having run the race of life to provide salvation for mankind He successfully concluded the race with joy and took His rightful place at the right hand of the Father as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The writer asks us to consider what Jesus did in the face of opposition from the worldly and demonic realm. And then because of what Jesus has done and the victory He has won we should be encouraged to not grow weary and lose heart in the race of life. We have the promise of victory and the victor’s crown. We need perseverance but the race doesn’t last forever and Jesus is at the goal line waiting on us to join Him.