I hate running. I hate it with a passion. It’s not just because I’m getting old and fat either. I’ve always hated it. I will walk all day if I have to; I enjoy walking, but please oh please don’t make me run.
It takes me about six good strides before I feel like I can’t go on anymore. Six good strides and I want to quit.
Have you ever wanted to quit?
I’ve wanted to quit a lot lately.
We have a spiritual race to run. Not for our salvation, that’s a once and for all deal, but after that the race starts. This race isn’t about us. It’s about recruiting others to join us in the race. We’ve signed up to run and God doesn’t want us to quit. He wants us run our race with patience.
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 (Emphasis added)
I know this. I’ve known it for a long time. But I still wanted to quit. Everything.
I felt like I couldn’t run anymore. Not another step.
I wanted to go to bed and stay there until the second coming. And maybe run away from home. I was done. Just done.
I had lots of excuses. Some of them were even good ones. Most of them weren’t. A lot of it was just whining.
“I’m not being treated right.”
“Somebody else can do it.”
“It’s too much stress.”
“I’m not good at it.”
“I’m not qualified.”
“Nobody cares anyway.”
On and on my list of “reasons” I should quit went. I was done, with all of it.
Even as three different preachers stood in the pulpit of our church, for three weeks in a row and gave very good reasons not to quit, I still wanted to walk away.
I was reminded in a thousand other ways too. But I wasn’t listening.
Oh I heard. I just didn’t apply what I heard to my life, to my circumstances.
Have I mentioned that I’m a slow learner
sometimes most of time?
Then God put something in my path that woke me up and put things jarringly into perspective. As I was contemplating my new perspective, I was reminded of this verse:
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; Hebrews 12:12
And this one:
For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Hebrews 12:3
I had let myself become weary, and to faint in my mind. I was letting my hands drag on the ground, and my knees buckle.
I had become so focused on my own situation that couldn’t see the bigger picture. Like Peter, after he had stepped out onto the water, and was frightened buy the storm around him, took his eyes off of Jesus and started to sink.
I felt like I was sinking. Drowning.
I was distracted by the storm and the waves.
But Jesus was still there, with His hand stretched out waiting to pull me up again.
I was fainting because I hadn’t considered Christ and all that he endured for us. He is supposed to be our example, the one we want to be like.
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 12:2
While He was on his earth, Christ had a course to run. There was a prize for him at the end. And that prize was us. He wanted that prize so badly, that he endured so much more that any of us can even imagine.
If we consider Him, if we keep our eyes on Him, we’ll see there are very good reasons to keep running.
The beginning of Hebrews chapter twelve tells us to run because we’re being watched. All those listed in that famous chapter eleven, sometimes called the hall of faith, they are our witnesses.
Witnesses like, Noah (Heb. 11:7), Abraham (11:8), Sarah (11:11), and Rahab (11:31) among others.
and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: Hebrews 11:35
How can we quit knowing who has gone before us?
It’s not just the greats of the past watching us. Our families, friends and even strangers look on to what example we will set. Our enemy watches too, and wants us to quit.
But there’s more.
We have a prize waiting for us too. A heavenly prize!
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Hebrews 12:22-24 (Emphasis added)
We’re running, not just for Christ, but also to Him. He is our example and our prize.
If He would run for us, I think it’s worth it to run for Him. Don’t you?
Will you run with me?