My father was a runner in college. So was my mother. When I was younger [11-12], I used to run a lot. I remember dreading my afternoon runs because I would have to go on the same route every time, and it wasn’t a very scenic or shady one at that. But much to the contrary, my dad and mom loved running. They were both very good and unlike me, enjoyed it. You may be wondering why I’m talking about running on a Christian blog. Well, in Hebrews 12:1-2, our lives are compared to running a race.
“Wherefore, seeing we also are so compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” [Hebrews 12:1-2 KJV]
Why would Paul compare our life in Christ to a race? Well, if you think about it, I believe that it will show us some very important lessons about our life in Christ .
Is a race easy? Is it something that you can just breeze through without breaking a sweat? Of course not. As a race is hard, just like our lives with Christ can sometimes be. But here is what makes it all worth it: when Jesus was giving the Sermon on the Mount, He said that we are blessed if we are persecuted for His sake. It might be hard sometimes, but you can always remember that promise. There will be times when we are ridiculed, ditched and maybe even persecuted for the name of Jesus, but above it all we know that Christ will bless us because of it. [Matthew 5:29]
What about your effort in a race? Do you just take it easy and sandbag the whole thing being totally aware that you are dead last…and satisfied with being dead last? Are you satisfied with how strong your relationship with God is? We should never be complacent or satisfied with having just an “ok” relationship with God. We need to have a strong desire to see it grow. And the bigger it is, the better it is. Christ says that if we hunger and thirst for righteousness, we will be filled. Can we ever have too much of Jesus in our life?
I don’t want you to think that a relationship with God is as tiresome and burdensome as running a race. No, Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The parallel that I am trying to make is this: the effort and will you put into running a race should be the same in how you treat your relationship with God. You should desire for it to grow just as you desire to do well in a race.
I would like to leave you all with this: when all on earth passes away, what will matter except your relationship with God? All this is temporary, but God is forever. Let’s make sure that we balance our lives with that in mind. Read your Bible everyday. Pray without ceasing. God wants to know you as a friend. Grow in that friendship. It is the best relationship you could have.