Thursday, August 18, 2016

Running Our Race

Submitted By Donnie O’Fallon,
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside very weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set for Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the Throne of God. ( Romans 12:1-2 )

This week, as I've watched the Summer Olympics in Rio, I'm reminded that no matter what event, whether swimming, running, gymnastics etc., each of the participants were moving toward the Finish line with their very best time and effort. As Christians, we too are moving toward the finish line of eternity!

The Struggle of the Training
The athletes of Paul's day trained rigorously and ran for the acclaim of their pagan gods. When it came time to compete they would meet at the end of the field to offer a blood sacrifice. The athletes would wash their hands in the blood swearing, (1) they had kept the rules of their training, (2) they had kept the laws of their religion, (3) they would follow the regulations of the race, (4) they would run for the Glory of their Emperor. Salvation is the gift from God that puts us in that race! The writer of Hebrews is exhorting the readers and participants in the game of life of his day, to go on to victory in spite of their present trails, to do their very best. Paul must have been a sports fan because he used sports analogies several times in The Scriptures which bears His name.

The Preparation to Run
The text is an example or application growing out of the Heroes of the Faith seen in chapter 11, this "great cloud of witnesses." Can you see their position, a great arena, tier upon tier upon tier, they have already run their race and they are there cheering us on? Our loved ones, friends, our mentors who have gone to their reward. The readers of this text are preparing to run their, our race, "the race that is set before them/ us." This race is set in the context of a relay race as a team. You see, there is a continuity to such a race. Tonight as I watched the Men's U.S. Free Style Swim Team (4) swimmers win the Gold Medal in that event, I could see the crowd cheering as each one swam his leg of the race as though he would be the one who'd cross the finish line. Each one of the four giving their best time and effort. You see, each of the runners did not receive their reward for their best effort until Michael Phelps, who swam the last leg of the race, crossed the finish line.
The Christian life is so tied to the ones who have gone before us and those who are yet in the future and those of us who are caught in the middle will have our incentive to give our very best effort in our part of the race. So don't slow down and don't get tripped up! Run your race in your lane, because the one on either side of you has to run too in their lane. Do your very best remembering your Citizenship is an eternal place. Jesus, " the author and finisher of our faith", cheers and encourages us as we run our race to the best of our ability just as He has instructed and coached us!

Scripture to Claim:
We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 1:3

Devotional Archive