Have you ever run in a race? Was it a long/slow race or a short/fast race?
Life is a race. It’s a long slow race. It’s a marathon.
Do you know what a marathon is? A marathon is a 26.2 miles long race that takes most people several hours to complete. It takes months of training to be able to run a full marathon. At a marathon, people line the sides of the streets and cheer as the runners pass by. Anyone who completes a marathon can be very proud of themselves.
But often there are those who begin a marathon and never finish it. Maybe they get cramps in their legs. Or maybe they fall down. Or maybe they just can’t think about taking one more step. Marathons are really hard to finish. And most people will never even think about running one at all.
In the Bible days, marathons were a common race just like today. That’s why many books in the Bible use a race as a way to describe our lives with Jesus. Just like here in Hebrews:
Hebrews 12:1-2. 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, 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
Have you ever felt like quitting a race? What about a team, or a musical instrument, or school, or anything that is hard? Of course you have. We all have.
Hebrews 12:1-3 is the greatest “don’t quit” speech in history. Don’t give up. Keep running the race. Endure!
A lot of people even quit on Jesus. Over time they stop trusting him and start looking to other things to prove themselves or make themselves feel happy. They might question if forgiveness is really free, or if they even need to be forgiven. Or maybe they just don’t believe that Jesus really lived, or really rose from the dead. Or maybe they think that can do better on their own without him.
That’s why Hebrews gives us the image of a long marathon race. The “crowd of witnesses” lining the streets. Wearing those light and skimpy running clothes that won’t get in the way – “son that clings closely.” The “endurance” that is needed. And the finish line – Jesus himself, the one we “look to.”
And that’s the only way to win – keep looking at Jesus. He is the finish line. His death for us on the cross is what we are trusting in now and forever. So keep running to Jesus. Keep looking at what he did for you. If you do that you’ll finish the race. You’ll get the prize – God himself.
Because of Jesus we can run toward God with all our heart.
With Jesus we won’t quit because he won’t quit on us.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Go outside and go for a little run together as a family. You might even want to set up a finish line and run races. Talk about how if we don’t know the finish line then we don’t know how to run, how to win, or how to train. Jesus is our finish line. But the best part – he is also the one who ran the race for us and now runs it with us. He’s everything.
You ran the race for me so that I could run the race with you. Help me to endure to the end without quitting.
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