Everyone is lined up, getting ready for the sound of the gun that signifies it is time. We look around to see who is with us; we get set and go. We run the race. While unaware of how long the race will be, we press on to the end. There might be steep hills, challenging roads, or long stretches of nothing in our future, none of that matters when we hear the gunshot because our focus is on the end.
“…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.” Hebrews 12: 1b-2.
Our life is a race. There is a beginning, and there is an end. While we run, we are running toward the finish line. We are running in hopes to the moment where we will stand before our Lord and hear, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ The question that must be looked at is how we finish well. How do we press on despite the difficulties and hardships we might face?
Run with endurance
To run with endurance calls us to prepare and continue no matter what we might face. It calls for the runners to train and equip their bodies for what is ahead. This means they run, stretch, and fuel their body as needed so that way when it is the day of the race, they can run well and with confidence. As Christians, we prepare daily for what is ahead. We read and meditate on Scripture, pray, and surround ourselves with a body of believers so that we can press on each day. We consume ourselves with the things above so that our eyes remain fixed on the end.
This doesn’t mean that the race is easy, and it doesn’t mean we won’t have tough times. When we run with endurance, it means we press on despite the difficult moments, and our bodies are trained not to fold under pressure. There is only one way that we can press on and endure, and it is because of Jesus.
Look to Jesus
I find it so beautiful that the author of Hebrews points us to Jesus as he speaks about us enduring to the end. The author understands what we all should acknowledge: apart from Christ, we will crumble. Apart from Christ, we might not even make it past the first lap in the race. Our utter dependence must rest on him alone. In doing so, we will “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.” (1 Chron. 16:11). We need Jesus; every hour, we need him. While we run the race from beginning to end and every step in between, we must lean on him.
We are confident in the race we run because of Jesus. The author of Hebrews reminds us that Jesus is the founder of our faith and the perfector of our faith. We are saved by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. Our salvation would be incomplete apart from Christ. We run in confidence, knowing that the race has already been won.
We run confidently and joyfully because we understand what Jesus did on that cross. While we could not fulfill the law and atone for our sins, Jesus did it for us. He took our place, bore our shame, and hung on that cross for our sins. Not only did he die for our sins, but He defeated death and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven. He crushed death and is victorious. This should bring us joy despite the trials and hardships we endure in our race of life.
Because of all this, we can rejoice even in the most challenging parts of the race. We know who has won! We know that once we finish and cross the finish line, we join in on the winners’ victory. Even if we were slow and struggled in the complex parts, the critical factor is where our dependence was found. Our eyes look to Jesus each day as we run the race. We rejoice in the good and bad because we know who has already won, and we look at the finish line eagerly waiting for the day we hear, ‘well done, my good and faithful servant.’
As we run, let’s keep our heads looking ahead to the finish line and hands raised in praise as we rejoice in Jesus, who has defeated death and made a way for us to join in the victor’s circle.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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