Running the Race: Part 1

I have been studying Hebrews 12 recently  for a study I am doing with a group of high school students.  I have been using the illustration of a race as an example of how we are to live our lives as Christians.

Let me take a few days to explain.

Step 1: Race Preparation

Any race you run has to be prepared for in advance.  We also call this training.  Hebrews 12 starts out by telling us that we already have a firm foundation in our faith or a group of people who already completed the race of life.  These men are call in Hebrews 11 the, “great cloud of witnesses” (see Hebrews 11 for, as my wife calls it, the “Faith Hall-of-Fame).

All of the men who already ran the race of life in Hebrews 11 (there’s even some women in there) know what it takes to run stronger, harder and faster than anyone.  These great men (and women) finished strong so we look to them for encouragement, inspiration, guidance and direction.

They tell us to a couple of things before we start (or prepare).

  1. Run the race with perseverance (or with a purpose).
  2. Set aside or throw off every weight and sin (things that will hold you back) before you start.
  3. Run the race with endurance (bearing pain and hardships).

They also always point back to one thing that is critical before we start running…

That before we can even start to run, we must start the race by embracing Christ.  If we fail to start the race of life with Christ, the race is pointless.  There is no purpose in it and we are running with no finish line.  Therefore, in our preparation to run, we must first acknowledge and trust that Christ will provide a purpose in our run and always give us direction on where to turn, what mile we are on and how close the finish line is ahead.  We take Him with us through faith.

With Christ with us, we are prepared as we get set to take off from the starting line.  We take a moment, breath out and dedicate our entire life to Him.  We commit to God in our heart that we will run with our eyes always looking at Jesus.  We will change our tempo when needed to make ourselves look more like Christ.  We commit to following Him closely because He makes our faith perfect.  After all, He already ran the race of life better than anyone else.  He lived perfectly flawless so his example provides the best course.  We dedicate and make a vow that we will do everything through Him so other people see Jesus through us and our every action will point back to Him and His saving grace who by God even allows us to run this race in the first place.

Race prep accomplish.

Now on to sizing up the competition

-jordan

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