running to win

I saw a runner along the road last week, out in the snow and cold, making his way. I have to give him credit, he was dedicated to his sport, huffing and puffing in the SD winter air, moving forward, not giving up. I don’t run that much, if at all, maybe to the refrigerator during a commercial break, and it got me to thinking, “Why do people run? What’s the purpose? Does the Bible say anything about running?”

The author of the letter to the Hebrews wrote about great men and women of faith in chapter 11. After reflecting on their sufferings and successes, he encouraged his readers to “lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).” The readers back then would have needed encouragement and endurance to keep on running, and so do we today.

We are told to see the whole of our lives as a race to run. As spouses, parents, grandparents, or employees, there is a race set before us, and we are instructed to lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, holding us back, weighing us down, slowing us up; it’s harder to run when you’re carrying a pack of dumbbells than not! We are commanded to run with endurance the race set before us, staying on the course, not straying out of the lane you’re in, not backing up and not backing down. We are encouraged to look to Jesus, who died and rose and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God – He is ahead at the finish line. Keep your eye on the prize! He is the founder and perfecter of your faith, and He will sustain you when your run gets too much to bear. He is the mediator of the new covenant, Son of man and Son of God, the best example of faith that endures to the end, who suffered to save us from our sins. He won His race, and so will we, in Him.

I ask you, what are you striving for in life? Where are you headed? How is your race going? Are you running hard, moving towards the finish line? Are you meandering about, getting off course? Is anything weighing you down as you run? Are you keeping your eyes forward, on Jesus, who will be there to meet you at the finish line? “Lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus.”