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 Peter 1:5-6
If you’re a Christian, God has already transformed your heart. But He also wants you to enter life in him like an athlete enters competition. That’s why the Bible, more than once, likens the Christian life to a race. Our faith in Christ motivates us to run it, and His power provides the strength to finish–despite the many times we all stumble along the way.
This illustration of a race refers to races where the runner would strip off his tunic and robe so he could run without any hindrance. If someone tried to compete in his robes, he would get tangled up and wouldn’t have a chance at winning. God wants you to finish the race of life well. Set aside the distractions and the sins that entangle you. Pace yourself. Exert yourself. And remember, many have run and finished before you. We are all creatures of motivation. We need a reason for doing things and we need encouragement while we are doing them. One of the greatest motivations and encouragements to the unbelieving Jews, as well as to Christians, would be all these great believers from the past, their heroes, who lived the life of faith.
The “cloud of witnesses” are all those faithful saints just mentioned in chapter 11. We are to run the race of faith like they did, always trusting, never giving up, no matter what the obstacles or hardships or cost. They’re that “huge crowd of witnesses” Hebrews 12:1 speaks about, and they’re cheering you on!
So as we blaze a new trail into 2013, let us not forget that this Christian life we live is a race and we need to do everything we can with God’s power to finish well! If you have yet to place your faith in and trust Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, won’t you cry out to Him today, “Lord, be mercy to me a sinner, I want to turn from my own way and follow You, save me!” He will answer that prayer when it is prayed from a heart of sincerity and brokeness.
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892)