“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
Does the name Kristian Blummenfelt ring a bell? In case you
haven’t been following the summer Olympics, he’s an athlete from
And he did—but not before crossing the finish line in first place, 11 seconds before his closest competitor.
Blummenfelt’s victory reminds me of these words in Hebrews 12: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with endurance the race set out for us” (v. 1). Now, to understand what the “therefore” refers to, we need to look back one chapter at Hebrews 11. It's often called “The Faith Chapter” or “The Hall of Faith.” The writer of Hebrews highlights around 20 different men and women from Old Testament times, who walked by faith. These faith heroes include Noah, the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), Joseph, Moses, Rahab, David and about a dozen others.
Every one of these God-followers lived their lives by faith. And here's a really important point: When they reached the finish line of their lives, these men and women were STILL living by faith. As the Scripture reads: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance” (Hebrews 11:13). What a powerful statement about faith!
All of these faith-warriors were applauded by God because they epitomized that great definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: They were “sure of what [they] hoped for” and “certain of what [they] could not see.” And in case you had any doubt what’s waiting for the faithful at the finish line, God’s word reminds us: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you won't grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).
Why do those of us who follow Christ keep following Him? Why do we keep trusting God when our lives fall apart? Why do we persevere through hardship for God? Why do we stay faithful to God when everyone around us couldn't care less about God? We do it all because of Christ. He trusted God when His life fell apart. He persevered through hardship for God. He stayed faithful to God even when everyone around Him jumped ship. Jesus fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith. And so should you and I.
Jesus has made it clear to us that as His followers, we are part of a heavenly invasion—penetrating the spiritual darkness here on earth with His light, and bringing some of the best parts of heaven to our little corner of the world. That's an amazing, inspiring mission. But God's word makes it clear that we can't carry out our mission in cruise control. We've gotta hustle! The time is short, and the stakes are high. So, we need to fight the good fight and run this Jesus race with some gusto. And as Christians, we need to run this Jesus race together.
Lately God has been reminding me that there is no room for laziness on the narrow road to heaven. If I really want to be lazy, there's another road for that: the wide road that leads to eternal destruction in hell. The wide road is the lazy road. So, if you want to be lazy that's cool. You just need to switch roads. But if you and I aren't interested in being on the wide road to hell, we'd better get off our lazy butts and get to work. We've got to get up and WORK for Jesus. We've got to get up and FIGHT for Jesus. We've got to get up and RUN for Jesus. If we are followers of Jesus Christ on the narrow road to heaven, we don't have any time to lose. It's crunch time! It's game day!
Look again at the last part of Hebrews 12:1. It doesn't say, “WALK with perseverance the race marked out for us.” It doesn't say, “JOG with perseverance the race marked out for us.” It says, “RUN with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Jesus is commanding us to run. Not sit around like a bunch of lazy bums—RUN! Not stroll down the narrow road like we've got all the time in the world---RUN! Not jog for a little while so we can brag about getting in some spiritual cardio. Jesus says, RUN, Christians! RUN!
Dane Davis is the Pastor
of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at