March 3, 2016

Staying in the Race

…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Heb. 12:1c (NLT) 

Eric Liddell, the “Flying Scotsman”, who won Gold in the 1924 Paris Olympics said, “… when I run I feel His (God’s) pleasure.” If you’re anything like me, you may be saying, “When I QUIT running I feel His pleasure!” The writer of Hebrews encourages us to stay in the race and run it with endurance. With that encouragement came some practical ways to do it in verses 1-4:

First, look to those who have run before you. The previous chapter in Hebrews is filled with faith stories of men and women who ran their race effectively and finished well. Their lives set an example of endurance. Just as they ran their race despite the obstacles before them, we can run the race God has set before us. Think of those who have encouraged you by the life they lived.  Their faithfulness challenges you to stay in the race.

Second, look to those who are running alongside you. In verse 15, he says, Look after each other….This is the benefit of doing life with others. God called us to be part of a family, a church family where we can grow together. We are called the body of Christ, and every member is important for that body to function. We need one another. We encourage each other to keep running so we won’t give up.

Third, look to those who will run after you. This is a relay race. Just as those who went before us encouraged and challenged us, we should offer the same example to those who follow us. We won’t end well if we fail to pass on the baton of faith to the next generation. Running for those who will come after you is a powerful motivation to stay in the race and never give up!

Finally, look to Jesus! Hebrews says, Jesus is the Champion of our faith! It calls Him both the author and finisher of our faith. If you began your race with Jesus, then you will never run alone!  He is also the one who perfects our faith as we run. He endured the cross by disregarding its shame and focusing, instead, on the joy that was set before Him – the joy of what His sacrifice would bring to a lost and dying world. He did not run in vain! Your race is not in vain! God set a race before you. Stay in your race. Don’t quit! When Jesus finished His race, He was seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne! Your outlook will determine your outcome. Look to those who ran before you. Look to those who run alongside you. Look to those who will run after you. But, most of all, look to Jesus and you will finish well!