Running a cross-county race is a grueling task. Our oldest son, Glen, was a state record-holding cross-country runner in his teen years. It was so exciting to see young people line up and take off running as fast as they could, then slow down to a steady pace to maintain their endurance, and then finally sprint to the finish line with every ounce of energy they could muster up. I remember yelling across the field at him: “You can do it, Glen! No Pain…No Gain!”
Unless you run the race yourself, you don’t benefit from the exercise, the commitment to painstaking practice, the feeling of being totally spent, the exhilarating fresh air, the crowd’s cheers, and at last, the welcomed finish line. Watching the race only affords you the pleasure of cheering for the racers and welcoming them when they finish their course, but it does not benefit you personally.
Which are you? Are you a runner? Or, are you a spectator?
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to RUN that race, not to stand on the sidelines and cheer on all those who have gone before us or those we know who are running now. He encourages us to look at those who have gone before us and use them as an example. They didn’t stop their race but gave their all in pursuit of the Love of God.
Are you willing to give your all, to lay aside every sin that holds you back? Are you running the race or are you a spectator simply standing on the sidelines watching others? The runner wins the trophy; the spectator walks away with nothing other than a memory of watching a good race run by others.
It’s time to get in the race pursuing God with every fiber of our being. Standing on the sidelines and cheering on those who have gone before us may be enjoyable and have a “feel-good” feeling about it, but there’s no hope of finishing the course or winning the race unless we actually run. And, in order to run this race we must lay aside every weight of sin that holds us down. We have to flee from sin, cast off the heavy weights, lay down our burdens, and run the race that’s set before us, remembering that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Exchange the weights of this world and become a yokefellow with Christ. Run the race set before you. Serve God. Pursue Him. Worship Him. And, do it with all that is within you.
Father, there are times I find myself on the sidelines with the “feel-good” feeling knowing that those that have gone before us have run a good race and won. But I know I should be running, pursuing You against all odds, allowing my flesh to endure the pain in order to win the prize. Help me to cast down the weights that hold me back, to flee from sin, and to lay down the burdens of this world so I run this race until I’m totally spent, and then run some more, amen.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25)
© Jan Ross
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