I love reading! There is nothing quite as enjoyable as a good book and a cup of tea. Try it…you’ll be won over, I can guarantee!
Of all the books I have read in my lifetime, and there have been many, none has challenged or touched my heart more than the Bible. I cannot explain the reason for this, other than to say that God’s Word is powerful and authoritative. Because it is such an inspiring book, I read it on a daily basis. So let me share a portion from the 12th chapter of the book of Hebrews that has challenged me.
The writer uses a foot race as a type of analogy for us running the Christian race. He says: “…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…” There are a number of principles in this text that can help us in our Christian journey - let me share them with you:
1. Run your race
I love the fact that there is a ‘race marked out for’ each one of us. Think of it, Jesus has already planned and designed our individual race. That should give us confidence – if He has ‘marked out’ our individual race then we can trust Him to see us through to the finishing line. One of the keys for us is to keep focused on our race. The other important key is to ensure that we never give in to the temptation of competing and comparing with other people. Run your race because that is the only one you can succeed at. Don’t look at other people and think: “Their race is easy, their challenges are few.” Truth be told, we do not run in their shoes so we have no idea about their struggles and challenges. God has marked out your race and that is the one that concerns you. Never aspire to run someone else’s race; you were made to run your race.
2. Keep your eye on the goal
Any runner knows the importance of focus. If you are running to win, you need to keep your eye on the goal. Distractions can hinder your race. If you keep looking around to see where your competitors are, you can diminish your effectiveness and eventually even lose your race.
3. Finish your race
When all the conditions are perfect, it is easy to stay on course and to keep our focus and energy levels up. However, when the heat is on, and the track is an upward slope then discouragement and weariness can set in. For these reasons, the writer encourages us to keep our eyes on Jesus. You begin your race with your eyes fixed firmly on the goal, but when the going gets tough, it is important to keep your focus, look intently ahead, and finish the race.
Our children, Anna and Jason, loved Sports Days at their school. The energy was high, the atmosphere was charged and there was an air of expectancy and anticipation at the outcome of the day. Most of these events always included a Father’s race. My husband Paul was a rower and he was extremely athletic and fit. Of course, Jason being exceptionally proud of his dad asked him to enter the race. Paul was not a very good runner, but he didn’t want to disappoint Jay so he entered the race. As he lined up to run the race, our family began to feel their confidence rise. Some of the dad’s were overweight and many of them were significantly older than Paul…well they certainly looked older! Our optimism loomed large.
The moment arrived! The dad’s were ready, eager and waiting expectantly behind the starting line. A gunshot pierced the air and the men were off; their ego’s hanging tenaciously on the outcome of this event. Slowly, little by little, our optimism waned as we saw Paul get further and further behind. We were disappointed when he came in second last. How could this be? He was a star athlete, a rower, and the father of Jason Alexander! But he simply wasn’t a runner. Well, not a very good one! We felt sorry for Jay because we knew he wanted his dad to do well. However, we had not realized the extent of Jason’s optimism and faith in his dad. When he got home that night his granddad asked him: “Jay, how did your dad do in the race?” Jay looked at his granddad and with a smile spread across his face he exclaimed triumphantly: “My dad beat the last guy.” That story still makes me chuckle today. No person and nothing could abate Jay’s confidence in his dad. His dad didn’t win, but he did finish the race. And more importantly, he beat the last guy. His dad was a winner!
What really matters is that you do your best and you finish your race. Keep running my friend; the result will be worth every minute of it!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus