Run the Race

Posted by Family of Chirst Lutheran Church on

Have you ever run in a race before? 

It can be quite an exhilarating experience! There's the path set before you; competitors running alongside you; the finish-line getting closer; and of course, the crowd cheering loudly as they watch from the sidelines.

As I read the first couple verses from Hebrews 12, this is what I'm envisioning: an exciting race surrounded by the cheering of a supportive crowd!

1 Therefore, 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. {Hebrews 12:1-12}

In this passage from Hebrews, the word "race" is translated from the Greek word agona, which is used to describe a situation where one would face conflicts and struggles of many kinds. This concept changes the scene I was envisioning earlier... Sure, races are tough - they make it difficult to breath and can be painful, but the pain is brief and often overshadowed by the excitement around you. 

The "race" addressed in Hebrews is a marathon that lasts our entire lives: beginning the day we dedicate our lives to Christ and ending when we die and are called Home to be with God. These verses acknowledge the reality that we will inevitably deal with struggles throughout our lives, especially as we "fix our eyes on Jesus" instead of worldly treasures. Those running the race have completely committed their lives to God, putting their faith in Him alone. With that in mind, it's nice to think that we would have a "cloud of witnesses" cheering us on from the heavens above like supportive friends and family would during a race. However, this isn't quite the message that Hebrews 12 is communicating...

This "cloud of witnesses" is not present watching over us while we run the race of life as followers of Jesus Christ. Rather, this "cloud" is present as a group of people we can look to - being inspired and encouraged by - as we encounter various difficulties and pains. God has given us countless testimonies that speak to His character, provision, grace, and love. Having this "cloud of witnesses" helps us persevere and keep chasing after the eternal treasure found in Christ.

Remember those who have run before you, and run the race knowing that the way will be challenging and filled with hardship and - most importantly - that the reward for the faithful runner surpasses any prize the world could even think to offer.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. {Romans 8:18}

Question for reflection:
Through the trials you encounter in your walk with God, do you seek encouragement from the many examples set in the lives of Christ-followers who have run the race before you?

God's peace -
Randi Oliver


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