Hebrews 12:1-4 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
Over the past two weeks we have learned from these verses that there is a great cloud of witnesses that surround us Believers in Christ; cheering us on to keep the faith. We have learned that it is in our ability, through Christ, to put off anything that weighs us down - whether it be sin, or just distractions. We have also learned that life is a race, and that we should run the race of life to win. We need to live Heavenly minded, eternal rewards minded, and cross-eyed (our eye always on the cross). Let’s look this week at just how we should run our race.
The Bible says we should run “with patience” the race that is set before us. Our Christian life is a long distance race. You cannot just start out in a sprint. If you do, you will give out before you reach the end. We have all hear, “It’s not how you start - but how you finish.“ We must run our race with patience. We cannot get discouraged with people moving ahead of us, or minor set backs along the way. There will at times be pain and suffering - we must press through it. In this world we shall have tribulation, but we must be of good cheer, because Jesus Christ has overcome the world (Jn 16:33). Long distance runners run “their” race. They race to beat their own records. The Christian should do the same. We should look to run “our” best race. Quit comparing yourself to other Christians, or other people in general. You run the best race you can run.
You must decide whether your going to let the trials of life make you bitter or make you better. James 1:4 says that we must “let” patience have her perfect work in us through trials. Will you give up and give in? Will you start speaking defeat? Or will you persevere in Jesus Name! Let patience have her perfect work in you! Tribulation will produce patience - if you let it (Rom 5:3). It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God (Heb 6:12). Just ask Abraham, Noah, Joseph, etc. We need patience (Heb 10:36). It is a good thing. We are used to microwaves, fast food, and basically instant gratification at every level. That is worldly. That is of the flesh. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).
It sounds funny, but you cannot rush patience. It must be developed over time. It is actually through trials that it is perfected. You cannot skip trials and mature in patience. You might want your two year old to be twenty - but you will wait 18 years, like it or not. Same thing with patience. Get out of the lottery mentality of life. God cares more about your character than your comfort. God wants you to mature. He wants you to handle things in a mature way. Most people want to jump ship when the seas get a little rough. You will never mature if you do. You will never grow and become what God wants you to be if you bail out at every challenge. You will remain a baby for life. We must add patience to our faith (2P 1:6). With patience do we wait for our blessed hope, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:25, Titus 2:13).
Also notice, it says the race that is set before us. We all have a race to run. We all have a destiny. We all have a course that God wants us to fulfill. Your race is not my race. My race is not yours. We will all (Christians) stand before the Judgment seat of Christ. We will be judged individually. Don’t focus on other people’s race. Focus on your race. Run to win your race. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage and help others along the way, but it does mean that we cannot run their race for them. We all have different gifts and talents. We all have different degrees of trials and tribulations. We will all give an account of ourselves to God. Purpose in your heart to run with patience the race that God has set before you. Encourage others along the way, but don’t get so focused on other “runners”, that you get off the track you are supposed to be on. Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!