Friday, October 21, 2011

Run with Endurance the Race

“Run with endurance the race” (Hebrews 12:1)
The Christian life is running a marathon on a short track.  We know the finish line comes quickly so we keep our eyes fixed on the prize.  A cloud of witnesses stand around cheering us on.  They have faithfully endured to the end and now they are encouraging us to do the same.  They are there at the finish line with Christ.  May we “run with endurance the race.”
Chapter 11 of the book of Hebrews is well known as the “Hall of Faith.”  As you read through the chapter it is easy to become overwhelmed by the faithfulness of these saints.  It is easy to see that what is recorded about these faithful saints is times when they were under persecution or suffering.  Abraham being called to sacrifice his own son trusting God was able to raise him from the dead.  Moses choosing to be mistreated with the people of God rather than enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin.  “Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword” (Heb. 11:36-37).  Are we willing to die for what we believe?  The answer seems easy as long as the blade isn’t spinning or rocks aren’t being thrown in our direction.  I pose the question, because when I think of Moses’ case, he was willing to be mistreated with God’s people and forsake the fleeting pleasures of sin.  That seems way easier than dying for my faith yet I’m too much of a people pleaser to do what Moses did.  If I’m not willing to suffer reproach for Christ what makes me think I’ll die for him?  It’s a good question to ask.  It’s how we need to examine our own hearts.  But the writer of Hebrews had a point behind every account in chapter 11.  The author wants us to look at these saints of old and be reminded that if our eyes are fixed upon Christ we too can “run with endurance the race.”  But we can only finish if we have eyes fixed upon Christ.
Christ is that single focus that puts all of life in perspective.  This is why we must run the race with eyes fixed upon Jesus.  The saints of old had eyes gazed upon Christ and so should we.  Running the race without Christ is impossible.  Without Christ there is no endurance.  It is faith in Christ that removes every weight and sin and frees us to run without being burdened down.  It is Christ who is the author of our faith.  Faith is a gift from God.  But it is also Christ who sustains that faith in us to the end.  He is not only the author of our faith but the finisher.   This is why we have a hope to endure to the end.  Christ promises to sustain his children.  He promises that we will finish this enduring race.  This should make us confident that we will finish the race, not because of our great faith in him but because he promises to faithfully sustain us until the end.  Life is a short track but the days can seem long with our desires competing against our flesh.  The battle is waging.  The track has its ups and downs but we can cling to our faithful God who will bring us to the end. 
Are your eyes fixed upon Christ?  Remember that “He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).  You can bank on that promise.  Christian, Christ completed the work for you with great joy.  He endured the cross, despised the shame and now he is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  It is finished.  There is no more need for sacrifice because the Father is completely satisfied with his Son’s atoning work at Calvary.  Trust in Christ.  Keep your eyes on Christ.  We are being cheered on by those who ran before us but we must “run with endurance the race” before us with eyes fixed upon Christ.  Without Christ you won’t make it. 
Grace upon grace,
JRL

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