Read: Hebrews 12-James 3
Reflect: Looking back on childhood nightmares, I can recall one that happened annually: elementary gym class & the 100-yard dash race. The teacher would line us up in groups of 4 and no matter my resolve, I always came in last. Didn’t matter how many positive thoughts I tried to think. I was “loser girl” and there was no one cheering in the stands for me. In everyone’s estimation (including mine), I couldn’t win that race, even if I had placed jet packs on my sneakers.
That’s why Hebrews 12 may come as a great shock to all of us who may feel that the world has branded us as losers. Hebrews 12: 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As believers, we currently have a huge crowd of thousands and thousands of people in the heavenlies watching us. From Hebrews chapter 11, we know there are indeed the famous heroes of the faith like Moses and Abraham in that crowd of observers, but then there are also mentioned those nameless individuals who over the years were systematically jeered, put in prison, pushed into destitute circumstances, and even martyred. In that throng of heavenly witnesses are countless unique people who were never publicly honored while on earth, but heaven applauded them just because they continued to put one foot in front of the other, deciding to remain faithful to God despite the cost. They decided to persevere. They decided to run with endurance, grit, spunk and persistence.
What Hebrews 12 tells us that a special style is required for running this race successfully: to “to throw off anything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Why do we instead often choose to run our personal races burdened under the weight of backpacks filled with millstones of resentment, pride, bitterness, unforgiveness, deceit and then knowingly run off course into the entrapment of those sins that our personalities are most attracted to? We choose to run in a manner that only handicaps and hinders us. Those time and life wasters belong in the trash, not on our backs. The point is that it doesn’t matter how fast of a runner you are; it doesn’t matter whether your running form is especially attractive; and it doesn’t matter how your race compares to the believers right next to you. What matters is whether you choose to run this race with your eyes dead set on the prize, of pleasing the One Who already endured the race for our sakes - Jesus Christ.
Apply: So, take it from a former “loser girl” who has become a “winner girl”. I am committed 100% to run this race well. I have the greatest cheering section in the heavenlies. I have the training secrets from the Word of God. I have the best prize of all which is pleasing My Lord and Savior. So how about you? How about diving 100% into this race? You have a crowd already warmed up in the heavenlies to cheer you on. Race on winners!!!
Jacqui Stoner is a committed Christ follower has a great love of people, passion for communicating, and she treasures creativity. She is a Christian Life Coach, helping women navigate transitions https://leaningforwardwithjoy.com/ She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org