“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Running the Race
(Please read Hebrews 12:1-2)
Our text tells us a great deal about the Christian race and even mentions a cloud of witnesses, those heroes of faith in the preceding chapter, indicating that our race is run in the sight of spectators.
In preparing for the race, we are to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” (NIV). What if you entered a race wearing a heavy coat? That would be a weight that “hinders.” And a sin that entangles might be the equivalent of some bad habit that would be harmful to your health – let’s say grossly overeating. An earnest runner will both get in shape and dress lightly for the race.
Preacher N.E. Rhodes Jr. once wrote that the Christian race is a process by which God makes saints out of sinners. This race is a serious endeavor, requiring self-discipline and determination. We can’t do what a runner did one year in the New York Marathon — catch a cab or bus to cut a few miles off the race. We have to exert ourselves, even getting tired and sweaty in the process.
Our text speaks of running with perseverance, indicating that our race is more of a marathon – a lifelong process – than a sprint. It’s possible for a new Christian to be so enthusiastic at first that he will soon tire out, burn out and drop out of the race. It’s better to be deliberate and steady. We run with our eyes on Jesus. He picks us up when we stumble. With him as Trainer and Coach, we can all be winners in that great race.