Daily D – Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. HEBREWS 12:1-2 (NLT)
Jesus ran the race all the way to the end.
There are two primary ways to become disqualified in a race at a track meet. One is jumping the gun. This is what happens when a runner starts before the gun is fired. The other is to fail to finish the race.
From the first day of workouts for track and field in junior high, we were told to always finish the race no matter what. Only finishers are awarded points. A relay runner has to finish his or her leg of the race so that the others on that team have a chance to win.
I limped to the finish line on several occasions, but I always finished the race.
Jesus is the all-time champion. He started (initiated) and finished (perfected) well. He ran all the way to the end. If he had not, he would have been nothing more than a footnote in a minor story from the Ancient Middle East.
How does a runner persevere through all of the training and preparation and the intense competition? It would be easier to join the crowds in the stands or on the couch in front of the television. A runner prepares well so that he or she can perform well and take home the rewards of the race. A runner who wins wins not only for himself or herself but also for his or her team. Winners elevate everyone.
Jesus ran with endurance all the way to the end. He did not stop short of the finish line. That was another idea deeply impressed upon us. We were to run all the way through the finish line. We were not to slow down until we passed the finish line. Many races are won or lost by the lean at the line.
Jesus gave everything he had to win that race. He won it for you and for me.
Now we have our own races to run. Let’s run like Jesus. He prepared well. He performed well. He did nothing to get himself disqualified. He won.
Life is not easy. It is harder if we choose not to prepare or to participate meaningfully. It is harder if we break the rules. It is harder when we give up. It is harder when we stop caring.
Let us prepare our hearts and minds day by day. Let us honor God and serve others all day every day. Let us live with self-discipline to keep us on task. Let us live with self-control to run away from anything that would set us back.
Let us run to win. Let us run like Jesus.
I will run to win.
Our Father, put me in the right race. Teach me how to run it. Train me to perform at a high level. Give the strength and determination to run to win. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 8:12-18 When you eat and are full, and build beautiful houses to live in, and your herds and flocks grow large, and your silver and gold multiply, and everything else you have increases, be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your ancestors had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.