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Listen while you read: "Rejoice The Lord Is King"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 12:1-2a – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (NIV)
Spring is coming, and track season is just around the corner. This means that I'll soon be spending many hours in the bleachers watching my grandson Ryan's high school track meets as he runs sprints, relays, and hurdles.
Runners wear shorts and a jersey and lightweight track shoes to enable them to run unencumbered. Hebrews instructs us to "throw off" sin and other hindrances to the successful running of our race — our life's journey. We must be prepared for an arduous race. Running a race well is extremely demanding, as is evidenced by the visible strain on the runners' faces as they urgently stretch toward the finish line.
The fans in the stands will not all be cheering for the same individuals or teams. Spectator loyalty will be divided as fans cheer for their own favourites — some cheering for Team A and some for Team B. So it is in our earthly race. Some of the spectators will be cheering for us, and some will be hoping that we will be defeated.
The "great cloud of witnesses" referenced in today's passage always brings to my mind spectators in heavenly places. I like to think that loved ones who have gone on before are watching and cheering us on as we run life's race. But there are other heavenly watchers who are actively helping us in our race. Angels are watching and protecting us as we face obstacles along the way.
Psalm 91:11 – For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. (NIV)
The word "surrounded" leads me also to think of other people around us here on earth who are watching our actions every single day. Some of these observers are unbelievers whom we can influence for Christ. Others are our Christian brothers and sisters who help and support us in prayer, urging us on and encouraging us as we run. Still others, who do not agree with our Christian beliefs, cheer when we stumble and fall. We can be sure that Satan and his unseen minions will do all that they can to cause us to stumble.
In Hebrews, however, we are exhorted to fix our eyes on Jesus as we approach the finish line in our earthly race. He is waiting for us with open arms whether we finish our race as the victor or simply faithfully run the race to the utmost of our ability.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, You have marked out our race for us and have promised to bring us safely to the finish line. Please give us grace and strength to run our race faithfully and well. Amen.
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Well said, Gail.
Thank, Gail, for this encouraging message.
Yes, thank you for the reminder that those who’ve gone before us are pulling and praying for us. Thanks for writing this uplifting devotional. Blessings.
Always have loved this particular passage. So detailed and clear, full of encouragement, as is your text. Wonderful to identify your grandson as one of the runners. I too have a grandson. Probably both our boys about the same age. This is an outstanding example of a devotional, Gail. So grateful to read you.
Gail – this is awesome! Thank you so much. It’s a reminder, an eye opener, an encouragement and a great comfort – just at a time when I am so much in need of this very clear PICTURE of living a Christian life.
There’s neither condemnation/criticism nor pie in the sky advice here; just a realistic picture that clarifies Scripture and makes it all seem not only attainable, but a joy and a joint activity – not a Lone Ranger type of work (unless you remember that he always had Tonto by his side!. Thank you again.
Perfect for today! Thanks.