Run The Race
“...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.”
Running has been the hardest thing I have ever tried to do. In the 10 years of doing it, I am continually humbled, and over and over it surprises me with its challenges and difficulties. Endurance and perseverance are good words to study in regards to the sport of running. When your body tells you with all its might “this hurts” or “will this ever end,” endurance and perseverance are the only things getting you through it. But let us ask a question when considering running a race: What keeps us going? What keeps us steady in the midst of the challenge? In every run, in every race, it is the finish that feeds our endurance. It is our focus on the finish line that brings perseverance. But when we take our eyes off of the finish line, we struggle to endure to the end.
Similar to the race is the life of a Christian. That is why the author of Hebrews uses running as an example. “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” As Christians, what is this race? It is all of this life. The entire Christian life is a race and if our eyes wander from the majesty and glory of Jesus, we become weary. Let me ask a question: has following Christ become difficult yet? Has your heart become sluggish to the things of Christ? Have you felt yourself protest against living in ways a Christian ought? The author of Hebrews calls us in this passage to endure because he knows we are prone to weariness and we often take our eyes off of Jesus. But we know as Christians there is no relief outside of the person and work of Jesus Christ.
This is why the author goes on to write, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Jesus is not only the founder and perfecter of our faith, but He also gives us the strength to endure in our faith. This is a hard long race, and we must look to Jesus for endurance so that we make it to the finish line. How is Jesus able to help us endure? Jesus is our help because He Himself “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” We are only able to endure because Jesus endured unsearchable pains for us, and we are strengthened in our Christian race because Jesus humbled himself by suffering and dying for our sin.
Endurance does not eliminate joy. Don't miss that. It was “for the joy that was set before Him”. Enduring by looking to Christ as our source actually provides us with all-satisfying joy. I would say, apart from an enduring and persevering faith, joy cannot be found, but is only found as we run to Christ with all of our might.
Some of what we see therefore in this passage is the author naming the Christian life for what it is: a long hard race full of challenges, sufferings and hardships. We see him encourage his brothers and sisters to endure it by “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter” of their faith, who “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross”. Let us to then be encouraged by this same word. Let us cling to Jesus as we run to him. Let us strive in our faith as we look to the grace of God. Let us not become weary in following Christ, but let us, with all of our might, endure all things for His sake, for He has done it all, and He has endured all things for us.
Ben is in seminary at MBTS and serves as a member at The Heights Church, which is a fairly new church plant in Denver. He is pursuing a Masters with emphasis in church planting in hopes to be in full time ministry in Denver.