Hebrews 11 lists champions of faith. Then, in chapter 12, a challenge comes to us. “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).
The heroes of the past are in the stadium, watching, witnessing, and praying for us. We are now the ones on the field, running the race against sin, Satan and self. Paul said, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
Prepare Yourself to Run
“…Lay aside every weight…” (Hebrews 12:1) These are things that slow us down.
Certain things are not bad in themselves…until they keep you from running your race. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful” (1 Corinthians 10:23a). If it is not helping you in Christ, lay it aside.
You ask, “Why don’t I have more faith?” Because you have sin. If you are having difficulty with faith, try repentance.
Don’t Stop Running
“…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b). However far ahead you may be, if you quit running, you will lose.
Are you looking for a cheap, easy way to serve God? Forget it. “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:3). Weep, pray, work, and concentrate on the race. Do not quit running until the course is finished. You do not know when the end will be. Hit the finish line with a blaze of energy! Your race is not over until you bow your head like Christ and say, “It is done.” (Read John 19:30.)
Depend on Jesus Alone
Many of you are saying, “I don’t think I’m able to do this.” The God who calls you is the God who enables you. “Let us run…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a).
Christ is the leader, the example for our faith. If you are man or woman of great faith, that is wonderful, but you cannot boast about it—because Jesus is the author and finisher of your faith.
“Looking to Jesus” means depending upon Him. This word looking is from a Greek word that means “looking away from everything else.” Anything that takes your eyes from Jesus is wrong for you.
Receive Your Reward
Run for the prize—“…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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus ran the race because He saw His people. This was the joy set before Him.
In Bible times, when a man won the Olympic games, his way was paved through life. You can see why they strived to win. But how much more we should strive! When we see Christ, we will receive the crown! We all need to finish our race with joy. (See Acts 20:24.)
What folly it would be for us to study these champions of faith and then go on living the same way we do. One day, you will wish you had been more faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved by works, but we are rewarded according to our works. (Read 1 Corinthians 3:12-14.)