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.
When a runner is competing in a race, he doesn’t turn around and go backwards when the race starts if he hopes to win. The course is laid out before him, and he has to keep moving toward the goal in the right direction. It works the same for us as we seek to live lives of faith. We have to keep moving forward. The race is set before us. God has a plan for us, a path for us to take. But we have to keep going and keep running. We can’t give up.
So what is our motivation when we are weary and that path gets difficult? Jesus, always Jesus. He ran His race to the end, and He will help us to do the same. He pushed through the pain, so to speak, to arrive at His goal. And we’re going to have to push through the pain at times, too. When the path is steep and our muscles are tired and our lungs are burning, we have to choose to keep putting one foot in front of the other. We have to be willing to endure when it hurts or when it seems too hard to keep going.
It’s worth it to continue on because we are living for a purpose beyond ourselves. Ultimately that purpose is Jesus Christ, the source of our faith and the one who will bring it all to completion. So, too, we are enabled to keep going when we lay aside those unnecessary weights, things that weigh us down that we shouldn’t be carrying. Those sins will always hinder us if we don’t leave them behind.
Perhaps most importantly, we have to run with patience. We don’t go too fast and wear ourselves out before the end. We set a deliberate pace and take one step at a time. We don’t get ahead of the one that we are looking toward, but we keep Jesus ever before us. May we be encouraged to simply keep living for God, to keep trusting Him, to keep moving forward. The culmination of a life of faith is so much better than a medal or a trophy, but we have the joy of knowing we pleased our Lord and have done all He wanted us to do.