Garland Of Grace – 12.19.14

running

Run To Win

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2 

Once Again, we see that metaphors are frequently used in Scripture. In our text above, the author of Hebrews compares the Christian life to a long distance race. It is not a race that ought to be approached like some short sprint in which the runner bursts out for a few seconds and then collapses at the finish line. Rather, it is a grueling, intense, long distance race, likened to a marathon, in which every ounce of energy, every drop of sweat, every act of training, and, in essence, every inch of our being engages us until that glorious moment when we stand perfect in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. With this metaphor in mind, there are three things about running the spiritual race set before us that would be good for us to consider.

To begin with, be a cautious runner. The author of Hebrews tells us to “lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.” The cautious runner is a runner that will lay aside anything that would hinder his or her performance in the race set before them. This is why you don’t find runners wearing three piece suits or high heels. Instead, they wear appropriate clothing and shoes.  Spiritually speaking, we too are to shed off anything in our lives that would hinder our service for the Lord in the race of life. Also, the cautious runner will consider where to run. There are places that are safe to run, and there are some places that are not safe. A smart runner will run on residential streets with good lighting, or at a gym or even on a treadmill, but not on a state highway. This is true in the spiritual race as well.  There are some places you ought to take your feet, and there are just some places that you should not take your feet.

Secondly, be a continuous runner. The author of Hebrews encourages us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Why should we endure the race that has been set before us? We should do so because Christ endured the cross for us. Running with endurance means that you run continually. It means that there is not a point on your life journey when you hang up your spiritual running shoes. Your service to God is a lifelong commitment. What can we do to stay continuous in our running for the Lord? We are to “fix our eyes on Jesus.” This is vital in the Christian race. Just like people working carnival booths, the world does all they can to get your attention and lure you over to their table, and the only way that you can avoid their temptations is to stay focused and fix your gaze on the Lord.  It is the only way to prevent from being distracted and diverted by the side attractions of the world.  Christ set the example for all of us in His perseverance and unwavering commitment to His heavenly Father. This is how we are to continually run this spiritual race.

Thirdly, be a conspicuous runner. Conspicuous means “evident or obvious; easily noticed and detected.” Running life’s race for the glory of God ought to be evident to those around you. People ought to be able to look at your life and easily determine that you run for one purpose – for the glory of God. Just like runners wear reflective clothing to be conspicuous and noticeable, we too ought to be reflective; reflecting the light of Christ in the manner in which we run the race of life. Take time out and make any necessary adjustments to enhance your running for the Lord.

 – Pastor Eric

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