Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2 NASB).
It starts here. You have a race, whether you realize it or not. Your life is a long journey. Or, as the writers of Hebrews says, “the race that is set before us.”
This is not others’ race—past generations, other believers. It is yours, and there is only one way to run it successfully.
- Be encouraged by the cloud of witnesses.
This is a reference to the great “Roll Call of Faith” in the previous chapter of Hebrews, which is full of simple men and women who took the path of faith in important and ordinary moments. They are now in heaven, but their lives and legacies live on and challenge us to run in faith, which means to follow Christ and do whatever He says to do.
- Lay aside every encumbrance.
No runner would run a race with a long robe or weights on his hands and feet. In like measure, we are to look at anything that slows us in our walk, that places extra weight on us. This could be the burdens of this life, or the extra weight of issues that don’t belong to us, or time and energy given to the things of this world. Lay them down.
- Lay aside the sin that entangles you.
Sin dos this. It trips us up. What sins, right now, are tripping you up? What is keeping you from running with efficiency and safety? What sins are giving the enemy a foothold in your life? Do whatever is necessary to lay them down!
- Run with endurance.
Life is not a sprint, but a marathon. We must realize this. The great men and women who leave a legacy of faith have run all the way to the end. They haven’t taken a permanent rest or gone on retirement from ministry. In fact, “retirement” for them should be realizing they have more time for intentional gospel work.
- Fix your eyes on Jesus!
Everything we need to know and the encouragement and empowering we need is found in Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. And, He understands our race because He ran it—perfectly.
In a brief stint on a track team, running relays, I was taught that the way to stay in your lane is to keep your eyes on the finish line and head there. We have an Elder Brother who has run and is there right in front of us, calling us to follow Him.
We must continually, increasingly, and literally fix our eyes on Jesus. If we do, we will see what and why He endured, and what was waiting for Him at the end (“the joy set before Him”). And, we will not grow weary or lose heart!
Get your running shoes on today and get out the door. The starting gun has already sounded.