Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1–2, ESV
The Hebrews 11 “Hall of Faith” is filled with the testimonies of Old Testament saints who trusted the promises of God and received God’s blessings. Even though they “did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us” (11:39-40), they ran their races in faith. They ran well.
As we tour this hall and admire the plaques on the wall, we are called to action. Their faith in the face of turmoil and tribulation serves to challenge us. We too are to run the race of faith as committed athletes in pursuit of a prize. Our motivation for running well is even better than theirs. Ours is a better race.
We need to run unencumbered by sin. Sin will weigh us down if we carry it in this race of faith. We cannot pursue the works of the flesh while we run. They are too heavy for us to bear. And they are clingy; the burden of sin does not just fall off our shoulders on its own. To run well, we must despise sin, trust that Jesus has carried our sin for us, and seek it no more.
Our race is a life-long endurance race. Until we go to Jesus in death or He comes to gather us to Himself, we run the race. A sprinter’s mentality will not do. We cannot blast out of the starting blocks and hope to win the race in a matter of days, months, or even years. We must be at the work of running every moment of every day.
Our race is a “race that is set before us.” We do not need to carve out our own course as we run this race. The Almighty has set the course. He knows our comings and our goings because he has determined the time and the place of our running (Acts 17:26). Consequently, we need not worry about the course but can focus our energy on running in faith.
Our race is a race with a perfect prize. At the end of the race is the One who set us on this course of faith and is at work in us building our faith as we run. Jesus ran His race, enduring a cross of shame. He finished well and is now “seated at the right hand of the throne of God” where He waits to reward those who finish the race. What an encouragement to us to keep running!
I am praying for you as we run this race together,