Whether you know it or not, we are ALL runners. But you may be sitting there thinking, “I haven’t laced up my shoes and ran since Middle School when we ran the mile for our fit test!”. Or maybe you are sitting there thinking, “I know I am, I just started an in-depth couch to 5K running plan for the New Year!”. Or, you may be thinking, “I’m more like the weightlifting type….or book type!” Well, wherever this finds you, if you are a daughter of the King then you ARE a runner, trust me.
It was in God’s design. We were created to be runners. There is a race that has been set before us.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
The first thing the author of Hebrews points out is that, to run this race well, we need to lay aside every weight and sin which clings. What are the things that weigh you down? What are the things that cling so desperately for your attention that is not of the Lord? Seriously, think on this for a moment and evaluate these areas in your life. I know for me, the weight I usually feel is a direct result or is hand in hand with a particular heart sin. (i.e.: laziness, anger, control, lack of control, pride, etc.) Isn’t it just like sin to cling on and weigh down?! Let’s be intentional to continually lay them aside, minute by minute, day by day as God faithfully changes us into His image. Repent, Renew, and Run!
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Secondly, we are to run with endurance the race that is set before us. Dictionary(dot)com defines endurance this way:
the fact or power of enduring or bearing pain, hardships, etc.
the ability or strength to continue or last, especially despite fatigue, stress, or other adverse conditions; stamina:
The need for endurance is major as this life is hard. Where do we receive this energy to go on and the power that we need to endure well? I LOVE what Jesus says to Paul when Paul was praying and pleading that God would remove this thorn that was in His life. Jesus said,
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
His power is found in our weakness. We are so quick to hide or be embarrassed when we show weakness or when others see weakness in us. Yet, THIS is the very thing God uses to perfect His power in our lives as He provides the grace for us to RUN!
This race of faith that is set before you is tailor-made specifically for you! Specific and by design, as we all struggle with different things and are gifted in different ways. Don’t be tempted to look over at the other runners. They aren’t running YOUR race. Keep your eyes laser focussed on what is set out right in front of you. Your race may be in the form of the husband who is hard to love, it may be that child that is beautifully different or has special needs to tend to, it may be in the church that didn’t meet your expectations, or in the relationships around you. It may be in the financial situation you are in, or just in the call to run. Be confident in THIS very thing, He is not only the perfecter of our faith but the perfecter of our race.
Thirdly, look to Jesus the founder of our faith. I LOVE how this verse is worded in the NASB.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Not only look or glance, but FIX your eyes on the Author of YOUR race, the Author of YOUR story. He is the one who makes it perfect, not by Hollywood or America’s standards, but by His Eternal Kingdom standards and plans. No matter what race you find yourself running, our King can relate as He modeled endurance to the cross to the point of death that we might live. We are called to endure as runners in our race of faith, and we can because of Jesus and the gospel.
“Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Hebrew 10:35-36
We want to be women of faith right? I told you that you are a runner! The only way our faith can grow in Christ is by running through the hard things. Persevering with endurance through the obstacles that reveal our weakness and dependency on Christ, and faithfully (moment by moment) fixing our eyes on the one who is strong and carries us when we feel we can’t continue running the race set before us.
We ARE weak, we ARE in need, we WILL run it imperfectly. But our God is faithful, He is perfect, and He is Great. He didn’t ask us to run it perfectly, He just asked us to RUN! We don’t run this alone friends, everyone knows that any good Coach runs alongside His team. We have the BEST!
“If the LORD had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.” Psalm 94:17-18