Hebrews 12 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”
According to this scripture, we all have a race to run and the course has already been marked out for us. Running in the natural is given to us as a metaphor of how we should run spiritually. As runners in a race are surrounded by those cheering them on and running alongside them, we also are surrounded. Running takes perseverance and preparation and there are things a runner has to rid themselves of that can weigh them down, entangle them or hinder them from running fast, or for long distances, or especially from winning.
Then there’s the prizes. Who wouldn’t want to win? I’ve found that running and winning is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge. Many are often defeated mentally as they compare themselves to others or just don’t have the mindset to even hope to win. It takes believing, refusing to quit, resilience – that ability to get back up again after you fall or try again after you’ve lost, endurance and so many other things that we may not even realize; even some things we may feel are unnecessary or disagree with. Some say what makes the victory so sweet is when you refuse to quit and finally get that taste of victory.
The questions I ask myself are why does it have to be so hard? Or why does it seem so easy for some and so impossible for others? Then there’s the sad reality that some will never win. Some won’t make it. But we won’t know who until after the race is finished. The Bible tells us that many who are first will be last. And some will say Lord, Lord didn’t we prophesy in your name…, but God will say depart from me you workers of iniquity; I never knew you. It’s true, we’ve seen times where the ones we thought would win or expected to win were upset by another opponent. Many look on the outer appearance, but God looks at the heart. Many will be chosen because they have the right heart many will win because they have the right heart.
We are encouraged to run – casting off the weight of sin; to persevere and to fix our eyes on Jesus, our Trainer, our Coach – the Perfector of our faith. Without focus, without determination, and without faith we will give up during adversity, when there is a setback, or at the first disappointment. Those who have been running this race for a while know there are some overwhelming blows that can take us out if we’re not anchored and if we don’t have the right perspective on life, death, faith, Jesus, purpose, destiny, and etc. And, that there are many distractions, temptations, hindrances and other obstacles. It is a fight to the finish and a fight of faith. But listen to the voice of Jesus. Hear the encouragement and the witness of those around you. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. The race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to the one that endures to the end.
The pain and the struggle is very real, but as the scriptures tell us “There is no temptation except such as is common to man…” We all struggle, we all have pain, we all have to go through fiery trials, but we are encouraged that there is an expected end. I can sometimes hear the cry of our Bishop saying “You Can Make It!” It’s sometimes funny, but it’s effective. I believe it. I believe the Word of God; that if God is for us, who can be against us; that we’re overcomers by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony; that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us; that we’re more than a conqueror, etc. So, I echo that funny, but effective cry of our Bishop…
YOU CAN MAKE IT!