“The obstacles won’t seem as daunting, and temptations won’t have the same appeal when you focus on Christ.” —Charles R. Swindoll
Are you the worrying type—fearful of the possibilities tomorrow may hold but also grieving the mistakes of the past? As we stand at the beginning of a new year, we must admit we can neither predict the future nor change the past. Trying to do either is a waste of time and energy.
We’re all in a race called life. It began when we took our first breath and ends when we take our last. We run our race one moment at a time, one day at a time.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, the writer imagined life as a vast arena with the saints who have gone before us filling the stands and cheering on all Christians in their races. The Greek word for race teaches us that the race each believer runs is a struggle requiring endurance. But if we learn the rules outlined in Scripture, we’ll finish well.
The Rules of the Race
- Remember that God has predetermined our race. God orchestrates each person’s race; therefore, no two races look the same. Comparison is foolish. Acceptance is crucial
- Preparing for the race is our responsibility. Hebrews 12:1 urges believers to get rid of excess weight—negative attitudes, laziness, worry, fear—that hinders our running, as well as the lack of trust in God that slows us down
- Keep on running our race with endurance. Each New Year, we start running with stamina but often give up by spring. God calls us to faithfully continue running no matter what
- Stay focused on Jesus Christ throughout the race. As disciplined runners, believers must constantly turn our focus away from distractions and toward Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)
- Refuse to concern oneself with the past. The Apostle Paul modelled the Christ-focused life by leaving behind both his greatest accomplishments and his vilest sins (Philippians 3:13)
- Lean hard into the future. Just as Olympic runners strain every muscle striving toward the finish line, Christian runners must expend our energy leaning into the future God has ordained for us (3:14)
- Never forget that rewards await us. When we have finished our individual races of faith, we will hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). The Bible also tells of other rewards that await, not the least of which is fellowship with our Saviour