I was already in the process of writing my blog "Keep Running,” when a friend handed me a dvd to listen to of a young preacher, age seventeen named Reggie Shaw. The topic of his message was “Running The Race.” I decided to incorporate some of his points, which are in quotations in my blog along with my own points:)
Hebrews 12:1-3, 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I ask you as my running partners for Christ, do you ever get tired? Be honest. Do you serve till you feel like you have no serve left in you? Does it seem like every time you pick up the phone it is another counseling session? Are you constantly trying to help people who don't seem to want to help themselves? Does it seem sometimes that it would just be easier to look out for you and leave everyone else to fend for themselves? I believe that most people who have been running the Christian race have felt this way at one time or another. But don't stop running.
Let me encourage you today that it is not all up to you. Reggie convinced me when he said, "That we are not called to run a 100 yard dash race for the Lord because the Bible says, the race is not given to the swift. We are not called to run a long distance race because many have been born and not lived long but have made a tremendous impact on the world for Christ. We have not even been called to run a marathon race because a marathon race is only about our self, how well we do, how long we can run, about me crossing the finish line, etc." He says, "I believe God has called us to run a RELAY RACE. Here is the proof...someone was running before you and me and they ran hard for the Lord, whether it was our mom/dad, grandparents, etc., and they passed the baton down to us. Someone else served and died to self before us. So we must run to endure and be able to pass the baton on down to our children."
If you aren't in the race or decided you were worn out, I encourage you to get up. The Bible also says that God is capable to have us mount up with wings as eagles, to run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.
You know what our problem is? We are too busy trying to be the star of the track team instead of a team player. Everyone is trying to perform so they can get a leadership role in the church, in the ministry, on the choir, on the Deacon Board, etc. Too many chiefs and not enough disciples of Christ--who was a servant and content to serve. Even if you can be a chief, sometimes God puts you in the relay in His choice of order. Some people are starters, some take the second leg or third leg and some bring it on home. Can you serve God without getting a pat on the back or a leadership role? Hmmm.
In Hebrews chapter 12, God gave us a race to run. Reggie also said, "You may be wondering, if Jesus set us free when HE died on the cross and redeemed us over 2,000 years ago and we are already saved, why we still have to run?" As always, I am so glad you asked. He gives this example. "Let's think about baseball for a moment. Did you ever wonder why a player who hits a home run that is knocked clear out the ballpark has to still run the bases? Personally I would be thinking that if I can hit a home run, then I should be able to go sit down. So I asked my granddad and he said, "They have to run all the bases to complete the play."
Did you hear that?
"What Jesus did was knock the ball out of the park on sin when HE died on the cross but Jesus said you got to go around first, second, third base and slide into home someday to complete the play." WOW!
No matter how bad things are in your life you have to keep on running. Praise God for the people in the faith hall of fame who can encourage us when we get tired, and weary, when we get a cramp that has us stop for a moment, like a wayward child, a health issue, a death in the family... get up and keep on running. Job was attacked in every way and kept on running. Paul was imprisoned and kept on running. Daniel was in a lion’s den and kept on running. Meshach, Shadrach & Abednigo were in the fiery furnace and they came out running. Joseph was falsely accused, put in prison and he came out running. Others have run the race and won; we are not the only one who has struggled.
Let's look at how this passage tells us to run a race. First, we must look at our crowd of witnesses in verse 1. The "therefore" takes us back to Hebrews chapter 11, which is the hall of faith. Those that I mentioned above are there along with Abraham, Rahab, Moses, Isaac, Jacob and many others. We need to look at their stories and be encouraged to keep running. Next, we need to remove all weights that so easily entangle us. Think about people who run professionally in the Olympics. They wear tight clothes when they run, not to show off their bodies but so they so they can run and not get entangled by the wind--the wind holds back a runner. What is holding you back from running your race for Jesus? Do you have too much stuff on you and in your life?
Reggie says, "Some things can be weights that are not sin. It is not a sin to have a boyfriend but is your boyfriend a weight? It is not a sin to have a cell phone but if you talk more on your cell phone than you talk to God, it can become a weight. If you spend more money on your shoes than you put in an offering plate, it could become a weight."
What are the weights holding you from running? Attitude, gossiping, pornography? Maybe a lack of patience or perseverance is your weight? We cannot represent God with a whole bunch of stuff on us.
Last point; remember who already won the victory. We may get cramps, we may sweat, and get tired but I encourage you to look to God who is the author and finisher of our faith. Don't look at your circumstances. I like how Reggie said it, he said, "Take your eyes off your reality and put your eyes on Jesus!"
I encourage you to choose friends that are committed to the race. Wrong friends may have values and participate in activities that hold you back in the race. Much of our own weight may be from the crowd of people we hang with. If you have an addiction to alcohol, pornography or gambling, admit it and get help with it, don't let pride come before your destruction. We must give up whatever endangers our relationship with God so we can run with endurance through the power of the Holy Spirit.
My question to you today is whatever your circumstance, no matter how tired you are in this race.... Will you keep on running to complete the play?
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