Paul referenced our journey in the faith like an athlete running a race.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1.
Wow! When I think of people that are running a race, I immediately think of people that are disciplined. In order to train for a race, you have to exercise daily, follow a specific training schedule, watch what you eat, make sure you are getting enough rest, and sometimes say no to things so that you can get the amount of training time you need.
All of us, whether we have actually run a race or not, are running the believer’s race. How does God want us to prepare and train for that?
fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy 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’ life is the greatest example that we can follow. I believe the first part of this verse is key: “fix our eyes on Jesus.” This is such a simple, yet powerful statement, don’t you think? When I fix my eyes on Jesus, I make Him the center of my life and everything I do centers around that. When Jesus is at the center, I remember that He is my:
Salvation– “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” (Titus 2:11)
Strength– “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Compassion and Comfort– “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3 NIV)
Peace– “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace.” (John 16:33 NIV)
When we fix our eyes on Jesus, HE is the source of our salvation, strength, compassion, comfort, and peace, etc. We don’t find those in anyone else. The world tries to get us to turn our eyes and shift our focus away from Christ to what the world has to offer.
How does the race play out in our lives? Maybe we think we are running pretty well on our own most days as we strive to go about our day. We call our friends or family when some unexpected turn happens, and ask them how we should move forward. We think our husbands will be cheering and running along side us the whole time while making us happy.
How can we run our race effectively? The answer: Jesus. We fix our eyes on our Savior, who ran the perfect race and died for you and me, so we could live with Him forever. We look to Him each day as we learn more about Him and His Word, we learn how much He cares for you and me and the wonderful plans He has for us. As we talk to Him in prayer, we learn more of His heart and will for our lives and have sweet communion time with Him. As we serve Him daily, we see how amazing He is and all that He can do. As we meditate and memorize His Scriptures, we train our mind to remember and focus on how wonderful our Heavenly Father truly is.
I am sure most of us have heard the quote by Frank Outlaw: “Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions, watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” When I think about that admonition, it reminds me the importance of daily discipline in one’s life.
Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. I Corinthians 9:25-27
Let us run, my friend, the race set before us as we shift our eyes and center them on Jesus, and let Him direct us through this journey of life. May we discipline ourselves and pursue Jesus daily, so we can run the race to honor and glorify Him in all that we do.
About the Writer:
Alana faithfully serves at her church home, First Baptist Dallas, where she enjoys using her talents and gifts to help others grow in Christ. She has also taught elementary music in public schools for nineteen years. She is married to Mike, and they have a cute mini golden doodle puppy named Bentley.