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. Hebrews 12:1
My nephew Owen and I were recently walking inside their house after playing outside. As we neared the door, Owen sprinted to the door and yelled, “I win!” I laughed and said to him, “I did not know we were racing!” The truth is, if we want to be successful in a race of any kind, we have to know that we are in a race. If we do not know that we are in a race, we will not prepare or perform well. If, however, we understand that we are in a race, we can be adequately prepared and run the race to the best of our abilities. We usually know when we are signed up for or performing in a race, but there is one race that we may not realize that we are a part of the calling God has given us.
Hebrews 11 is a chapter dedicated to men and women throughout the Bible who exhibited great faith. After talking all about these people and their faith, the writer of Hebrews made a concluding statement in Hebrews 12: “Therefore, since such a huge crowd of witnesses surrounds us 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” (verse 1). In this verse, the author of Hebrews reminds us that we are running a race. What kind of race are we running? We are running “the race that God has set before us.” It’s true. We are running a race. When we realize this truth, we will perform better.
One of the problems we see is that most people don’t realize they are in this race. They never take the things of God very seriously, and they get stuck in their sin. It is like the author of Hebrews is inviting us all into something much bigger, building on the champions that God has placed before us. Instead of being weighed down by sin, He wants us to get in the race and to run free.
As we think about the race God has called us to, one thing to remember is that every race has a desired goal or destination. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Here at Sagebrush, we believe that Scripture teaches that we are called to know Christ and to make Christ known. This is our mission and calling as Christ-followers. It is the race we have been called to. The question is, do we recognize that we are in a race? When we understand this truth, we will be willing to set everything aside and run this race that God has called us to well. If we prepare and run with endurance, we will see the reward as we cross the finish line one day.
Moving Toward Action
Please take a few moments to journal about the race that we are all a part of. Have you thought about your faith walk in terms of a race before? How does this understanding affect the way you view your faith walk? In what ways does this understanding challenge you to live differently? How can you take a step today to prepare to run your race well?
Hebrews 12:1-13 (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. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever?
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
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