So very many thoughts come to mind! But racing is my main life theme!
“Hold up!” You might say. “This dude, I thought he was different…”
I say “Hold up” to you! Sports? Are we all not a part of the huMan race? Just asking! As a Christian, I run a race for a prize to be rewarded after my race by God’s AMAZING Grace, Amen.
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,
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?
Then The LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.
but those who hope in The LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that The Lord has promised to those who Love Him him.
“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.
They charge like warriors; they scale walls like soldiers. They all march in line, not swerving from their course.
but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
I run in the path of Your commands, for You have broadened my understanding.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance. Perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
He said, “Come what may, I want to run.” So Joab said, “Run!” Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite.
So, we are all in the huMan race! I run with perseverance and guidance by The Holy Spirit within me. This is a race, I pray/pusg/strive to win!
For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places! Ephesians 6:12
meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
James is telling us to endure. He says that this endurance will actually produce something in us (steadfastness), and that this will lead to an even greater end outcome – ultimately our faith will be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Is this not what we want? As women filled with the Spirit of God, our deepest desire is to be made like him, to share His holiness, and to have our faith perfected and completed, lacking in nothing.
When we view it in this way, we can see that even in the midst of trials, or when discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, God is working all things together for our good. He displays His love to us by faithfully shaping us to share in His holiness. We are His daughters whom He lovingly disciplines. And there is a great reward to be had in enduring.
This is essential for us to believe. Because we will face trials in this broken, fallen, sinful world. And God will continue to prune sin out of us through loving discipline. But when this feels hard, what will our heart’s response be? Too often when things feel difficult, we’re tempted to feel discouraged, or to doubt God’s goodness towards us. We can become weary and fainthearted. But verse 3 of Hebrews 12 says, “Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
There seems to be a difference between tired and weary. Or even between heavy-hearted and fainthearted. Weary and fainthearted have a sense of defeat to them. But, as verse 3 tells us, we are not to grow weary or fainthearted. And to keep from this, we are told to consider Him. We are to look to Jesus. And what do we see when we look to Him? Let’s read verses 1-2 again:
“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.”
Jesus endured the cross. He didn’t have to, but chose to. And Jesus despised the shame – He did not like it, and it did not feel good. He suffered. He understands what it’s like to suffer – as Hebrews 4:15 says, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize in our weakness, but one who in every way has been tempted as we are.” And in verse 4 of chapter 12, we’re told “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” But Jesus has. He did shed His blood. And the question is why? We see the answer in verse 1, “For the joy set before him…” There was joy set before Jesus, and the joy was worth enduring the suffering. He knew this and believed this, and so He endured.
Just as there was joy set before for Jesus, there is joy set before us. This process of enduring and discipline leads to our joy. There’s joy in being made holy. There is joy in our faith being perfected. There is joy in being daughters of God. We too are to know and believe this, so that we too may endure.
And there’s more. Not only did Jesus endure, but He won. The end of verse 2 says that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Verse 12 tells us, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet.” We are strengthened, not weary. Our hearts are lifted up, not faint. We are not defeated – Jesus is seated on the throne! Our outcome is sure in Him. We do not need to lose heart, in fact Jesus tells us to take heart, because He has overcome the world. So let’s look to Jesus, and let’s consider Him, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross. And let this lead us to run our race with endurance, knowing that it is for our good and for our joy.