Summary: The Christian life is like a race, we need to run with patience and faith in Jesus, so as to be able to win the prize at the end.
RUNNING WITH PATIENCE
Study Text: Hebrews 12: 1 - 4
- A common metaphor for the Christian life in the NT is that of a runner in a race.
- During the course of his ministry, Paul wrote that he ran the race in such a way as to obtain the prize.
- That is he disciplined himself and continually pressed forward toward the goal in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 9:24-25; Phil 3:12-14).
- At the end of his ministry, he declared that he had fought the good fight, finished the race and had kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7-8).
- Here in Hebrews 12; the writer employs the same analogy as he writes that we are to run with patience the race that is set before us.
- Nowhere in the Bible are we promised that the Christian life is going to be easy. In fact, often the opposite is true, John 16:33.
- Yes, difficulties will come and trials will cross our paths and often, we will be tempted to quit on God and drop out of the race.
- In light of that, we are encouraged to be faithful to the Lord and to continue to run the race.
- The Christian life is being compared to a race. A race that requires endurance and preparation.
- When trials come, there may be the temptation to drop out for a while and let others do the running.
- Irrespective of what you may be facing as you run your race, the word of God gives us guidelines that will help us all to be runners who are pleasing to the Lord God.
- We shall discuss under three sub-headings:
1. Discovering the Saints
2. Disciplining the Self
3. Depending on the Saviour
1. Discovering the Saints
- In chapter 11, many of the great heroes and heroines of the faith were mentioned. These people are the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us as we run the race.
- When your race is hard, remember and reflect upon what the saints of the past were able to accomplish and endure by faith.
- Let their journeys, endurance, and victories inspire and motivate you to press forward and to keep on keeping on.
- Let them remind you of the faithfulness and power of God. In addition, note that not just a few here or there made it to the end, but a vast number: "a great cloud of witnesses."
- In the middle of our darkest hour of our darkest day, we will be tempted to think that we are utterly alone. No one else has had to suffer what we are suffering. No one else has had to overcome what we have to.
- However, the truth of the matter is that many of the saints of the past, whether in scripture or church history, had to endure much worse.
- We are not alone in our suffering. As Paul wrote: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man (1 Cor 10:13)."
- If they can make it, we can too because the same God who worked in them, is the same God who works in us. Therefore, in light of the great cloud of witnesses that surround us, let us run with endurance.
- Three truths about these witnesses can give us encouragement as we run our race.
i. They Have Run Their Race
- These were people who ran the race they had been given. They did not run perfectly, but they ran. They did not quit until the race was finished.
- They endured unspeakable pain and suffering, still they ran. Now, they are seated in the grandstands and observe the race we are running today.
- In doing so, they stand as an encouragement and a challenge to the rest of us. If these people could run their race, then so can we.
- None of these were extraordinary people, James 5:17-18. They were merely common men and women who evidenced a profound faith in God.
ii. They Have Received Their Reward
- These people ran their race and now they are able to rest in the Father's presence. Because they ran well, they have received their reward. The prize is theirs because they ran and they ran well.
- Again, this should give us encouragement to run for he Lord. When the race is over, we will go to be with Him, where we too will receive the rewards earned during the course of our race here on earth - 2 Tim. 4:8.
iii. They Have Revealed That God Is Reliable
- The greatest encouragement that we can derive from these saints is the fact that they are proof positive of the reliability of the Lord.