Summary: Running the race of life as a Christian.
Introduction: Have you seen that reality T.V. show called “The Amazing Race”? It takes different teams of people and has them running from one exotic location to another trying to be the first to arrive at the final destination. It’s kind of a crazy show as most reality TV shows are, but it’s premise is laden with symbolism that is applicable to the race that we all must run called “Life”.
Life is one amazing race, isn’t it? It begins with a process called birth & ends with the culminating event called death. In between those two momentous events is where we all find ourselves right now! The process of life and how we live it is an extremely serious matter because where we spend eternity depends on how we run this amazing race of life!
In this passage of scripture, the Hebrew writer tells the Christians of the first century to be aware of how they run the race of life. As Christians in the 21st century, I believe and the bible teaches that we still need to be aware of how we run the amazing race of life! Today, I want to share with you three points that each of us should consider as we run the amazing race of life!
I. OTHERS ARE WATCHING HOW WE RUN OUR RACE!
The Hebrew writer begins this chapter by using the word “WHEREFORE”. The wherefore serves linguistically as a coordinating conjunction to tie the aforementioned thoughts in chapter 11 to the present applications presented in chapter 12. He had just talked about all the great hero’s of faith Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, & Moses; and he makes the point that as Christians we have a great heritage a veritable cloud of witnesses looking down upon us – a cheering section in the clouds – urging us on to victory in Jesus as we run life’s amazing race!
The truth of the matter is that we all have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding each of us as we live our lives day by day. It matters to others how we live because the only sermon some people will hear is the one you preach with your life! I disagree with the popular philosophy of the world that says “It’s your life to live as you want to live”. The bible teaches that each of us are bought and paid for with a price & that price was the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We are to live in such a way that our lives reflect the fact that we are new creatures in Christ Jesus.
(cf. II Cor. 5:17, Rms. 12:1-2 )
II. MANY OBSTACLES PREVENT US FROM RUNNING THE RACE WELL!
Have you ever seen Olympic athletes as they prepare to compete in a race? They will all begin to strip away the warm-up suits and the sweat pants in anticipation of the race that they are about to run. They don’t want anything binding or restrictive that would hinder them from running all out!
In much the same way the Hebrew writer tell Christians that we are to lay aside those things that would hinder or restrict us spiritually as we run this race of life! When I was in high school I considered myself an athlete, and we would wear ankle weights all day long. Then when it was time for the game we’d take off those weights and man, it seemed like we could fly! That’s the idea behind the Hebrew writer’s admonition; lay aside those things which will hinder you from running all out as a Christian and making heaven your home!
Notice also that the Hebrew writer indicates that not everything that will hinder you in this amazing race of life is sinful! There are some things that are not sinful but still hinder you from being successful as you run the race. Just as the top athletes take off the things that restrict them from performing at their best, you & I need to realize that the bible teaches Christians lay aside or put off certain thing that will beset us in our race!
(cf. Col. 3:6f – “put off all these…”; 3:12f – “put on therefore as the elect of God”)
III. WE MUST STAY FOCUSED ON THE OBJECT OF OUR AFFECTION!
For the athlete, the focus must be on the finish line! The great ones will tell you that they are so focused that once they hear the starter’s pistol everything else goes silent! They don’t see or hear the crowd until afterward, but for that moment they are focused on one thing, crossing the finish line!
The Hebrew writer reminds us that if we are to successfully run this amazing race of life we must focus our attention on the object of our affection – Jesus! As we look to Jesus we see modeled for us an example of godliness and righteousness! We see in Jesus a model of patience and humility. We see modeled for us everything that we need to run on even when the race gets hard and the going gets tough!