“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls” (Heb 12:1-3)
After I broke my ankle, the advice of the doctors was that I should walk with crutches for some time and not step on my injured foot. My weight will be too much and the fracture will not heal. This type of walk is called ‘nonbearing weight ambulation’. I take the doctor’s advice seriously because I am also a doctor by profession. But I always pray for the Spirit’s revelation. This is what I have received: The Christian race is compared with running to win a medal. Any medal is good but the gold one is the best. To win the gold medal we are here given some instructions from Coach Apostle Paul. Dear child of God, if you want to be a champion, better listen!
*In this race we are not alone. We are surrounded by other champions, who are alive on earth and also the ones alive in heaven. They know how hard it is to win the battle for they have done it too. They sympathize with your struggles. But they also know how much greater is the reward for running well! They encourage us to keep running well unto the end! Listen to the voice of your pastors, leaders and mentors; the voice of the ones who make Jesus happy! Humble yourself! Learn from them! Follow their examples of faith!
*This race is not a 100 meters dash. It is more like a marathon, a race that lasts for a life time. That is why, to finish well, your speed is not as important as your patience. Learn to be patient with yourself and others! Even if you go slowly but surely, that is good enough! Do not despise the little gains along the way! Just keep moving on!
*You should lay aside every weight. The word ‘weight’ means any heavy burden that oppresses you; any responsibility that causes you anxiety and depression. These are not open sins but little hindrances along the way. They slow you down. Jesus said that ‘the flesh is weak and it profits nothing’. It means that anything done in flesh, using your own strength, anything done without the power of the Holy Spirit, becomes a weight on your spirit and slows you down. These hindrances distract you from the purpose of the race which is wining your reward, your medal. These are some hindrances: Be careful with the books you read, the things you watch on the TV or the internet, with your eating and sleeping habits, with the type of friends you have, with your hobbies, and generally with anything that make you waste your precious time on earth. Anything that is ‘good’ but has no spiritual or eternal value is a weight that slows you down in this race. Identify it, repent and throw it away! Deliver yourself! Immediately you sense a new freedom and you make greater progress!
*Repent of sins that ensnare your feet. In Greek, the word ‘ensnare’ describes another competitor who is a false believer. He comes near to study you, so that he will trip you to fall. We do not compete against other believers. Each child of God has its own path to follow! We should encourage one another along the way! But there are many false Christians who enroll in the race just to cause harm to the true believers. You should never open your heart to a false believer. He cannot pray for you. He cannot help you. He will only hinder your walk with God. Stay clear!
*You need to be patient so that you finish the race. The word patient means to have hope and joy as you move on, as you wait for God to answer your prayers. Patience means endurance to the end!
*Look up and see Jesus! He gave you faith to become saved. He will give you faith to persevere to the end. Your Lord is the greatest Champion in the universe! You are the child of that Champion! Be like your elder brother! When there are trials of faith, consider Jesus, how he suffered on earth among the sinners who hated Him. But He still finished the race to the glory and delight of the Father who sent Him. There are wicked people in the world who hate the idea that you are a champion. Most of these people are religious hypocrites. They are jealous on you. They will be happy if you fall or are disqualified. But I tell you: if the devil likes it or not, you should run the race and win that shining medal of light! To the glory of God!
*Do not be weary or discouraged! Do not depend on your flesh for it is easily tired, fainting, frustrated, bitter and angry. Do not lose your courage and confidence! You started in the Spirit; you should end in the Spirit! You are a child of God! That alone should encourage you! You can do it!
Dear children, let’s run…and run…and run… to the end! Glory to God!