Faith of a Father

"Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised; – Hebrews 10:23


Leave a comment

Endurance to Finish Your Race

Image

9.   The race requires endurance to complete it successfully.  Being able to withstand the pressures of the race both physically and spiritually is critical for no one wins a race by skipping their training and taking a blasé attitude.  

Hebrews 12:1  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience (endurance) the race that is set before us,”

I am reminded of when I was a freshman in collage I helped coach a high school soccer team that went all the way to the state championships.  We weren’t an overly talented team but we were a team that had a dedicated head coach and players that were willing to work harder than the other teams.   During practices the head coach pushed his players hard to build their stamina.  He would run them around the field over and over again requiring the last runner to sprint to the front of the line, when he got there he yelled and now the new last runner sprinted to the front of the line.   This training, along with other endurance skills enabled the out players to play hard throughout the entire game.  While other teams played hard, part-way through the second half they would start to drag.  Our players on the other hand had a second wind and were able to push past the other team and win.  The point of this story is that it is not always about being the best and the most skilled at something but having the endurance to outlast your opponent.  It is the same in our Christian life, while it is important to hone our “skills”, continue to learn and do our best ( I Corinthians 10:31), like a tortoise, plodding along, being consistent and developing the needed endurance is what gets us to the finish line.  

Physical conditioning is not easy.  It is tough, you want to quit, it hurts and often it is just plan no fun.  So it is with our spiritual conditioning, it is tough, there is often pain, and at times you just want to quit.  But like a runner in training, they press on.  We are reminded in II Corinthians 12:9 that His grace is sufficient for us.  When the pain seems to become overwhelming and we think of giving up, it is HIS grace that is sufficient, not our works.

So how do you want to cross the finish line?  Will you be a casualty in the race and have to be carried across the line on stretcher, will you allow the things of this world, the heartaches of life take your breath away or will you strengthen yourself in the Word of God and recognize that His grace is sufficient for you to finish your course? 

Oh let us not become distracted by the world, let us not give up but press toward that mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14) .

Advertisements


2 Comments

Running the Race #8

8.  There are encouraging fans.  We discussed the other runners but we also have fans.  First and foremost, if we have no one else we have the Comforter, the third person of the Trinity who will always be with us (John 4:6 ) who will teach us (John 14:26) and encourage us ( John 15:26) . The Bible says that “He (the Lord) will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, the Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”  Hebrews 13:5b-6.  If we have no one else around us, He is all we need.  He is our strength, our deliver and our salvation in the time of trouble (Psalm 27:5 , Psalm 41:1, Isaiah 33:2)  He is our light and salvation, whom shall we fear?  (Psalm 27:1).   No one.

In addition, the Lord has provided us with other to witness and encourage us.  In Hebrews 12:1-3 it says:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Who are these witnesses or “fans”?  Verse one of this chapter begins with the word “Wherefore” which can also be translated “Therefore”.  My Dad used to say we need to ask what the “Therefore” is there for.  As we know, the original letters of the Bible were not divided into chapters and verses but were added for us to more easily reference the various portions of Scripture.  So in this case, the reader is reading the 11th chapter known as the “Faith Chapter” and rolls right on into chapter 12.  So the writer of Hebrews is referring to those in the Faith Chapter (chapter 11) as the great cloud of witnesses.  I would recommend that you take the time to go back and see who these witnesses are.  They are not only those that were named but so many that were unnamed in verses 32 through 40.  Close your eyes and imaging Abel, Noah, or Abraham surrounding you and cheering you on in your race with the Lord.  Imagine Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua beside you encouraging you along the way.  Or how about seeing martyrs of the past shouting “You can do it, don’t give up, the pain is worth the victory!”  Wouldn’t that encourage anyone?  Guess what, you don’t have to imagine any of this.  The writer of Hebrews is saying THEY ARE THERE! The witnesses that surround us are those heroes of the faith, the named and unnamed, the abused and even martyred in His name are surrounding us and encouraging us.  There have been times in our family’s life when it seemed we were all alone and we needed Him to pick us up and carry us.  The other runners in the race seemed so distance and some may even have shunned us.  But what joy can come to our hearts when we can turn a spiritual corner and realize that we are not alone and that we have fans who have finished their race and are running the sidelines cheering, encouraging and yelling, “Don’t quit! It will be worth it all, when you see Jesus!

Are you discouraged? Do you feel like no one cares?  Do you feel like giving up at times and just stepping to the side and sitting on the curb?  Look to your left, look to your right.  Don’t you see them?  Can’t you hear them yelling to you?  DON’T QUIT!  The pain, the attacks, will be worth it all.  Look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.