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, 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.
We can’t run anyone else’s race. We have a course laid out before us, marked off for us to follow, and we have to run unburdened, with patience, and with our focus in the right place. There are so many things in our lives that threaten to weigh us down, but if we’re going to run to win, we’re going to have to shed those weights—those things that easily trip us up, those things we are prone to fall into, those specific weaknesses that seem to get us every time, those burdens we cling to. They will only slow us down and hold us back.
The examples detailed in the previous chapter show us the results of living by faith. These people’s lives were about something more than themselves. They struggled and toiled but ultimately persevered. They endured a lot, but they trusted God. But then Jesus is our ultimate example, for He is the beginning and the end of our faith. He demonstrated for us a perfect life of faith that we are to emulate. He obeyed His Father to the end, following the path laid out for Him and giving everything. And when we run our race, we can endure because He goes with us. We’ve seen from these men and women that it’s worth it to live this kind of life that entrusts everything to God, that says He is enough, that believes His Word and obeys completely.
We can’t take anyone’s place, and no one can take ours. Like the lanes on a track keep each runner in their place, we have to stay where we are supposed to be. We have to concentrate on what God has asked of us and not worry what He’s asked of others. We can’t be looking around at them, but our focus must be on Jesus. He’s the one who’s compelled us to run in the first place. We all do our part in moving His plan forward. So are we living our lives for Him? Are we following Him? Are we doing what He’s asked of us?
The heroes of faith often experienced great turmoil and struggle, but they knew there was something else to come, something better, something more. The promises of God would be fulfilled. Deliverance would come, and then Jesus was born. And the course of His life took Him all the way to the cross, but He knew beyond that was something better. He rose from the grave and ascended up to the Father to sit on His throne. And now we run our races. And it may be hard sometimes. We face great difficulties, but there is something more to come. So let’s keep going, because when our race is over, the joy of heaven with Jesus is our prize.