“Let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” Hebrews 12:1,2 (NLT).
Racing is all about competition and winning, right? Each runner does his utmost to be ahead of the others, so that he will get the prize. Those who do not win tell themselves, “next time I’ll do better.”
But is this all there is to racing? Recently I saw a video clip which told of another way of winning. It’s not about being first and getting a prize; it’s about finishing a race. An athlete was running a race. He was ahead of everyone until he fell and hurt himself. He got up and resumed running but all he could do is limp along. Soon everyone passed him by. Still, he kept limping towards the finish line. When it seemed like he’d have to quit, his father jumped into the rink and together they made it to the finish line. “We’re in this together,” he said to a cheering audience.
In 2 Timothy chapter 4:7 and 8 Paul tells us that the Christian race is something like that. It’s not just about winning a race but it’s about finishing a race. At the end of his life Paul could say, “I have finished the race and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness…”
But the prize is not just for him; “it is for all who have finished the race and longed for Christ’s appearing (His glorious return)” (2 Timothy 4:8).
The race we are running is uniquely chosen for us by God. We are not in competition. We are running for Jesus not ourselves.
We must keep our eyes on Jesus. We will stumble if we look away from him to see how we’re doing in comparison to others, or we look at the circumstances around us. Then we’re apt to become discouraged.
Are you weary of the race? Remember: God is not looking for perfection but for persistence. As you keep your eyes on Jesus, you will get the courage and stamina to keep going until the finish line. And if you stumble, He’ll be there to pick you up and get you back in the race again.
We also need each other. Like the father in the story encouraged his son to finish the race, we can come alongside someone and encourage them. Can you think of someone?
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are with me in this race. I depend on your strength to help me finish well.