“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1
This summer, the world’s focus would be shifted to London for the Olympics games; London 2012. Countries all over the world would come to participate, and cheer their athletes to victory. What matters most in the end is the number of medals each country would win. That would distinguish winners from losers. Although athletes engage themselves in many events, the one I really enjoy watching is the long distance events. They require perseverance and endurance to finish. During such events, athletes starts well; everyone proves to win in the first two to three laps but when fatigue starts accumulating, the muscles begin to ache, when every step they take tells them to quit, that is when most of them look at the multitude cheering them up. And remember all the encouraging words they heard from their presidents, friends, and families. From my perspective, anyone who crosses the finish line is a winner, though not all receive the medals.
The life we live on earth is a race. Like London, the earth is the place for the event. There are forces (seen and unseen) that cheer us up to victory, and forces that seek our defeat. That is why we need to know where we belong, whether for Jesus, or Satan and his demons
We are not the first generation to run this race. There have been several people who came to run and won with medals, and others who failed to win. The good news for us is that Heaven is constantly watching and cheering us to victory. God is watching as we run this race. Jesus, Joseph, Daniel, Elijah, Samuel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Peter, John, Paul, Joshua, Esther, Mary, Ruth, etc are all watching and singing songs for us to run well. These guys did run the race, won, and they are enjoying the benefits thereafter. They stood firm when Satan and his demons tried them in various ways to prevent them crossing the finish line. My motivation each day is if these people could run well without any Bible, computer to read daily devotionals, listen to podcasts, etc then I can do better with the Holy Ghost on the inside. We are more fortunate to have their stories as a guide. We have computers, smart phones, etc with which we can easily link up with other athletes to see and hear how they are faring.
In Hebrews 12:2, Paul, one of the greatest runners of all time, advised us to look unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our strength. We can’t run this race with our own strength. We have to focus on Jesus who will renew our strength daily. In Isa 40:31 (NIV) “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary…”
Athletes who gave up along the way bring shame to their countries. What the fans expect is victory; they want their heroes to run despite the pains, fatigue, etc. As children of the Most High, we have been enabled to win this race of life.
Jesus knew that one thing that could push us down is weariness. That is why Paul said in Heb 12:3 that “consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” continually worrying over challenges, difficulties, etc will push our focus from the author of our strength and we may give up.
Hear me today, our predecessors didn’t quit, they ran well even at the point of death. They never gave up. Jesus according to Hebrews 12 endured, despising the shame. He wept in Gethsemane, He was beaten, they spat on him, etc yet He endured the cross because of the Joy that was set before Him. Paul said that “for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18. Jesus knew that if He could cross the finish line, the reward will far exceed the pains he was going through. Let this be our source of strength each day as we run this race. In verse 3, Paul said consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and loose heart.
The race is only for a temporal period but its reward is eternal, and far exceeds anything better we can ever imagine.
I will close with this; “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” Acts 20:24