James Williamson, New Zealand’s Road Champion, was competing in the Tour de Filipinas and approaching the final day of the tour known as the queen stage. It was roughly 130 km in length but 3500km in height and estimated as a five hour-long race. The day didn’t begin well for James but he quickly made it back into contention and looked forward to a top ten finish. However, something happen whereby he lost about 5 minutes of time running the wrong race. In other words, James got lost (lost his direction in the race) and thus lost his place in the race.
The writer of Hebrews also understood the importance of this by writing in the 12th chapter to “run the race set before us.” The writer emphasizes that our life of faith is described as a race, whereby a cloud of witnesses that give witness to the value and blessing of living by faith surrounds us. John Macarthur says, “Motivation for running ‘the race’ is not in the possibility of receiving praise from ‘observing’ heavenly saints. Rather, the runner is inspired by the godly examples those saints set during their lives.” As we seek to follow in the footsteps of others who have successfully ran, there are three things necessary as presented in the text.
1) Lay some things aside – The runner that seeks to win loses as much as possible so that it wont hurt performance. The runner wears clothing that is light and allows freedom of movement. In the race of faith we also lay aside things 1) weight 2) the sin. We lay aside things that may slow down our progress. We lay down relationships that aren’t beneficial and things that make our race difficult. We also lay aside the sin that easily ensnares us. This refers directly to the “sin of unbelief” which began this section in Hebrews (10:26). We cannot expect to run successfully if we do not believe, and more importantly have faith in the Lord to accomplish all things.
2) Push, Push and Push – this race is not a sprint but a marathon and requires patience. We must run with a sustained effort over a long period of time, the race that is set before us. It is imperative to run the race set before you by the Lord Himself. Also we don’t run the stages in the race we have finished already, rather we run the course set before us today.
3) Get Your Eye Right – Our focus must be upon the Lord as we run the race. Oftentimes we glance at others but it should merely be a glance and not a gaze, because our ultimate focus is on the author and finisher of our faith. Others can give expertise and wisdom but our focus should be on the Lord and his example. I once read the formula for spiritual success is
- If you want to be distressed – look within
- If you want to be defeated – look back
- If you want to be distracted – look around
- If you want to be dismayed – look ahead
- If you want to be delivered – look up.
Jesus is our supreme example of willingness to suffer in obedience to the Lord. He pushed forward so that He might receive the joy of finishing His race in accordance with the will of the Father. Therefore we look up to Him and run, run, run. Run the race set before you by laying aside unbelief, hindrances and things that slow down overall progress. Run the race before you with endurance, and run with absolute focus on the Lord Jesus.
Have you lost endurance in running your race? Have you grown weary in running? Are you focusing on the opinions of others or fixed on the ultimate prize? Have you been sidelined by unbelief? Let’s Chop it up, and Join the conversation below!