Endure The Race
"Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us" Hebrews 12:1 (Message).
The faith-filled life is sometimes a grueling, agonizing race. As my husband and I watched the movie Secretariat a few years ago it reminded me of the race we run and the correlation I saw spiritually speaking in so many ways. We must learn to endure the race before us as Christians.
Just like the horses in a race who wear blinders to keep their focus straight ahead on the goal, we must have our eyes set on our goal, Jesus, as expressed in verse two of our key passage. It would be easy to get distracted with the enticements of the world. We also must strip ourselves of any hindrance of sin that might keep us from reaching the goal. The jockey has to be stripped down and weigh a certain amount to even qualify to ride the horse to victory.
The KJV of our key passage uses the word endurance instead of patience. Endurance means a steady determination to keep going regardless of the temptation to slow down and give up. I thought of this the other night as my husband and I walked the track at a nearby park. After a day of ministry and chores I didn't realize how tired I was as I kept thinking I might not make it to the end.
I had to keep reminding myself to keep going with my focus set on getting back to our truck to go home. I decidedly had my eyes fixed on the prize....sitting down. If I didn't keep going I knew I would not make it. I thought back to the determination of the horse as it made it's way forward with nostrils flaring and muscles bulging toward the finish line. He was successful and won the Belmont Stakes Triple Crown race. At the end of our race on earth we will receive a crown if we overcome to the end.
The last one quarter mile of the race is called the test of companions. Sometimes we think we can't make the last part of the race. It is often a test for us; a test of faith and endurance. Will you be found running the race with "patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us" as the Amplified version of our passage puts it? Don't let the sins of life trip you up and cause you to fall