“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.”
What a thrill it is to see the Olympics begin! We will be able to watch the athletes and be amazed at their talent, intrigued with their spirit of adventure, and inspired by their commitment. Although they come from many differing countries, cultures, and language groups, they all have one thing in common: They long to win the Olympic gold medal. Sadly, only one in each race will win that prize.
In Hebrews 12 the Christian life is compared to a race. The words of this chapter were penned to encourage believers who were facing great persecution to “fix” their eyes on the perfect example of the Lord Jesus Christ who overcame life’s toughest obstacles.
To win the race, the Olympian must stay focused on the goal, put forth his very best effort, and stay committed to the task. In the Christian life, winning requires the same disciplines. You must lay aside the sinful habits and attitudes that hold you back and fix your eyes on Jesus. Only by focusing on and following His example of love, surrender and obedience can you win the race.
Yes, the Christian race requires great commitment and focus, but has one great reward that the Olympic games do not have. In the Christian race, every runner can win.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:24: “. . . They all run to obtain the prize.” What an encouraging thought! If you fix your eyes on Jesus as you run the race of life, you are a guaranteed winner. No other race on earth can boast such greatness. No wonder J. Vernon McGee, well-known Bible teacher and author, refers to Hebrews 12 as “the hope chapter.”
As Dr. McGee said, “Let us now get out of the grandstand; let us get down on the racecourse of life, and let us do whatever God has called us to do wherever He has called us to live and move and have our being. Let us run the Christian race, and let us move out for God.”
Heavenly Father, may the assurance of hearing Your voice say, “Well done!” at the end of our race motivate us to run with patience and endurance the race that is set before us. Help us fix our eyes on Jesus and live as Jesus lived. Enjoy the games!