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A Race of Endurance

A Race of Endurance

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)

Have you ever wondered about heaven?  Have you ever thought about what it will be like when you get there?  I know I have from time to time.  I used to say things like, "I don't care what I get in the way of rewards when I get to heaven, as long as I get there.  I don't care if I am the janitor, as long as I am there."

I just wanted to figure out what I needed to do to get there.  This generally meant I was focusing on those things in life I could no longer do if I wanted to make it in.  This is sad actually, because I should have been focusing on what I would be getting if I simply chose instead to lay down my life here on earth and to live my life for the One who gave His life for me.

Well, somewhere along the path while reading and studying my Bible, God spoke to my heart and I began to shift my paradigm. No longer would I choose to look at my quest to spend eternity with God as some sort of grueling endurance contest here on earth where I attempt to hang on until Jesus comes back - hoping I am living a good enough life to get the thumbs up on salvation.   Something changed in my life as my view began to line up with God's truth as written in the Bible.  I now knew none of my efforts could ever add to what Jesus did upon the cross, and it is only by His Grace and my faith in Him I am saved.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)

Q:    So if we are not simply enduring and simply hanging on until the end, then how are we to endure?

I believe we should no longer live as though we are simply hanging on.  I believe we should fix our eyes on the prize and run the race set before us with endurance.  We should now look at life as an endurance race, but in a different way.  Here are a few ways we can use our endurance.

  • We must endure against the temptation to live for our own fleshly desires, and instead in our efforts to persevere in our commitment to living the life God has called all of us to live.
  • We must endure the temptation to pass on the latest gossip and useless information and instead share the gospel and God's Word with others.
  • We must endure against the temptation to judge others unto condemnation.  Instead we must show them the same love, mercy and grace our Lord has shown us (Matt. 6:14).  
  • We must endure the temptation to be distracted by the enemy and instead stay focused on our prize of seeing Jesus.  

Yes, our life is an endurance race from the time we are born to the time we see Jesus face-to-face. It is full of special tests - tests ultimately shaping who we are, what we will become, and most importantly, whether or not we will spend eternity with God or spend it separated from Him.  God will do everything necessary for us to finish our race well if we seek Him for His truth, His leading and His empowerment.  It is only by Him we will endure.  Jesus stated this clearly to His followers.

 "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (NKJV)

Q:  How should we as Christian men and women run this race set before us by God?

We must choose to set our sights on living each day in a way to glorify Jesus. We need to get up and start our day with God - spending time with Him and His word.  We should seek His will for our lives and ask Him to guide us through our day.  We should ask Him to give us the words to share with others, or any words we need to receive from others as well.  Ultimately, we should always have a prioritized goal in our day to serve God, and to do everything as if we were doing it for Him (Col. 3:17, 23; 1 Cor 10:31).  

STUDY QUESTION: According to Hebrews 12:1 what are we to lay aside while running our endurance race of life?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Is there anything ensnaring you in your race to be the Christian God has called you to be?

APPLICATION: Ask God to show you anything that might be a snare in your Christian walk.  Lay it down at His feet and repent (turn) from it.

Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me of my sins. Show me how to live for you today.  Continue to remind me of Your Son's eminent return.  Help me to endure and overcome temptations by the strength of your Holy Spirit.  I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000