Direction to run the race and end with joy – Part 1
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of [a]witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, Who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, [b]disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work.”
There is a race set for every believer in life, which is why Christian journey is a race and our only contender is the kingdom of darkness. We must maintain the rules of the track and endure to finish the race with joy. The day you sign to follow Jesus Christ is the beginning of the journey to eternity. Some started well and finished with joy, while some fell on the roadside because of the distractions around them. Paul emphasised those who witness our salvation and testified to the truth of God’s faithfulness, which are the martyred and other believers; these are the people that stand as judge and rewarder.
For every believer to run the race and end with joy, they must strip off every unnecessary weight first. What are these weights that Paul is talking about? These are the burdens in the heart, worries about life and accumulation of wrong teachings. Believers need daily spiritual exercise to decongest all the excesses and garbage in the body and mind. We can only do this by studying the Word of God and prayer. Shun every form of distraction that can affect our spiritual journey.
Again, sin, which so easily and cleverly entangles us, should be avoided to run the race and finish with joy. Admiration of the crowd, community excitement and community attitude is a temptation to the runners. If you are not careful as a believer, crowd admiration can lead to pride and this will result to sudden fall. “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). The joy of every runner is to end with joy and win the trophy.
Another thing to avoid is sin to win man’s favour in the course of the race. Some believers like to please man than fear God. They fail to tell the truth and put the devil to shame. They fear their boss and sin against God. They lie when they are defending government policy that is deceitful. These sins are very easy to entangle us. Christians should determine to maintain their stand in this corrupt society with the fear of God. What can sustain our faith at this period of trial? We should endure while running the race. We should be persistent and focused on our Lord Jesus Christ. “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2Tim. 2:3 ASV). No matter the situation in our country, enduring Spirit will sustain us. Persistence in faith gives us courage in the face of intimidation. May God help us to be focused and fix our eyes on our Master as we are running the race of faith in Jesus name. Amen.
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