We are in a marathon!
“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 (ESV)
Whenever I see the little white circle with the numbers 13.1 or 26.2 attached to the back of a car, I think of the grueling effort involved in running such long distances. Apparently, those who display those bumper stickers must like running. For me, running was never a very pleasant experience. I don’t get excited over a long distance race. Yet, that is what these two verses are revealing to us. “Run with endurance,” indicates that the race is a marathon not a sprint. But this marathon is unlike any normal race in that the runners are not running in their own power.
All runners begin this spiritual marathon race the very moment there is a personal acceptance of God’s gift of salvation by faith. Heaven, eternity with God, is the finish line where all of God’s children will finally be perfected into the image of God’s Son. During the race, the Christian, through the work of God’s Spirit, is being transformed into the “likeness of Christ” completed at “the last trumpet.” Just as 1 Corinthians 15:52b says, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.” Also in Philippians 3:21, “(Jesus) will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” As in all races, there are many things that may hinder a runner from gaining victory. Think about the many “hindrances” runners may experience that slow them down. If the Christian life is the work of God producing holiness through sanctification, then “sin and every weight,” such as pursuit of earthly pleasure, will only slow God’s perfect work.
This week, think about those things hindering God’s work in your life. Set your focus on Jesus and in prayer. Ask your Heavenly Father to give you the power through His Spirit to remove those hindrances.