The Christian’s Race (Hebrews 12:2)
Hebrews 12:2, 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.
Brian Wilkerson said, "I once ran in the New York City Marathon. The first half of that race is a party. You're swept along by 28,000 runners, crowds lining the streets, and people running in costumes. You're touring the ethnic neighborhoods of Brooklyn and Queens. You feel like you could run forever. At mile 13, you cross over into Manhattan and start heading north, away from the finish line. Central Park is behind you, and you're going in the wrong direction. The crowds are thinner now. The party's over.
At about mile 16 or 18, you hit the wall. You're absolutely miserable. Physically and psychologically, you're busted. All you want to do is stop running. I remember passing one of the first aid stations. There were runners lying on cots—pale and gaunt, with IVs dripping into their arms. I thought to myself, 'Those lucky dogs.' At that point I began to despair. I imagined myself having to go home and tell everybody I didn't finish. Why did I ever sign up for this race? What made me think I could do this?
That's when it hit me. One way or another, I had to get to Central Park. That's where my ride was. I had no car. I had no money. I would have to get there on my own two feet. So I might as well keep running. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don't think about the next 6 miles; just think about the next step. And if you can keep that up, keep putting one foot in front of the other, the miles pass. And when you cross that finish line, it feels like glory—even when you're in 10,044th place. Some of you may be hitting the wall right now—feeling like you can't go on, like you'll never make it. Following Christ is harder than you ever imagined it would be, and you're thinking about giving up—about doing something foolish. Don't do it! There's no magic to endurance racing. It's all about continuing." Bruce kept going forward by controlling his focus from fatigue to finishing. We must do the same in our race for Christ.
Our Commitment. Committed believers do not get diverted. When we got saved we entered into the race of the Christian life.
Our Concentration. Conditioned believers do not despise discipline. This race is a marathon and not a 100 yard dash. If we are to run this race effectively then we must train so we can build our endurance. A runner without endurance can never run successfully in a long distance race. There are times when a race can be difficult and we must press on to the finish line. I remember when I ran cross country in high school. The practices we very exhausting, but they would prepare you to run the race more effectively. When the race gets tough and you feel like quitting, remember the cloud of witnesses cheering for you.
We must concentrate and focus on Jesus Christ. The word looking means "to focus or to keep the eyes fixed on." It means to fix your gaze upon and to look exclusively without distraction. The idea is to give complete attention to that which is before you. Like a runner in a race concentrates and focuses on the finish line, we are to have our eye fixed on Christ. If we are going to do well in this race we must keep our eyes on our Lord. Despite life's doubts and difficulties, regardless of the failures and falls, in spite of the hindrances, we can have confidence that our salvation is certain. When our race is finished we will be glorified.
Prayer: LORD, You have chosen the course for my life. It’s been both exciting and exhausting however, I have a finish line to cross. I want to thank You for the patience and joy You have given me on my course. As I run this race it’s my desire to please You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.