“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Have you ever started a New Year Resolution or set some kind of goal in your life to improve something or get rid of something that doesn’t need to be there, you do all this planning and prepping to get ready! You get a gym membership, maybe even hire a personal trainer, get the best meal plans and protein shakes, whatever your goal is these examples may differ but this is the part of the process that’s easy. I like to call it the “hype” stage. It’s where everything is exciting and super hype with all you are planning to do but then when it comes down to the action, to actually doing the workouts every single day. To actually go through the grind, hard work, sweat and tears that come with creating new healthy habits or getting rid of old unhealthy ones. It’s hard!!!
I have done this so many times, I go through the hype stage, I talk a big game but when it comes down to the actual work, I realize the pain and suffering I will have to go through, then it’s not long and the hype has worn off. Now it’s real and now it’s really hard to keep moving forward and attacking these goals. This is all in the context of running the race better for the mission Jesus Christ has set us on, so I’m not here to give self-help talks on setting goals and “being a better you.” Just didn’t want to get that mixed up, because all I’m here for, the only reason I send these messages is to encourage you to be stronger in your faith, to come closer to God in your personal relationship with Him and to run this race in the best possible way! I am using workout, healthy eating examples to show some of the things God may be calling you to do, to pick up new habits that help you run this race even better for His Kingdom. Whatever God has placed in your race, I’m here to help encourage you from my experience.
What do we do when we get in the race, and we realize the pain and suffering we will have to endure and move forward through?
This is the main question for you today to think on and I pray these answers will be some that can be applied to your life and the race God has set before you!
I love this word here in verse 3, which is the verse I’ve highlighted for today because that’s where we’ll be hitting on most! The word “think.” In other versions it says “remember” or “consider.” This verse is here following two verses that are jam packed with instructions and a game plan on how to run this race God has set before us. Why would we need to “think” or spend time “considering,” what Jesus has endured, or even bigger than that, what Jesus has done. Verse three is like that P.S. verse at the end of a letter, where people have said all the important stuff and then at the end they remember something they feel is just as important and must include. So the writer of Hebrews leaves this third verse here that doesn’t seem nearly as important as the first two that give us all the meat about the race, how to run it and all that jazz. So why is the third verse important?
If you have ever tried to make a change in your life, especially looking at the changes that take place in this race of throwing off sin and weight, like old habits and addictions, or picking up new habits that are good and help you run better. With change, usually what follows is a whole lot of PAIN!!! I know that sounds super exciting but just wait you’ll see! Change is hard, it takes work, it takes physical movement forward in this race towards the prize Jesus has set before us. That’s why we don’t believe in the “fast food” or “ten-minute abs” mindset in this race because change personally and living in a way that brings Godly change in their hearts and lives, it simply takes time. It takes a daily grind and it involves running with endurance because this race isn’t a quick fix, it’s a marathon that takes place each day. And if you haven’t experienced this yet, with all the distractions and uncomfortable feelings that come with running this race and the change that has to take place personally, it stinkin HURTS MAN!!!!
But that’s why we have verse 3, because verse 3 is there for us so when we realize, “wow, this is really hard,” and when all the fluff of hype starts fading away and no longer motivates you, verse 3 is there to remind us of the truth of why we are doing what we are doing and why we are feeling what we are feeling. Verse 3 says to think about, literally spend time out of your day and “consider” all that Jesus has done and went through. When we run this race we look to Jesus as our ultimate example and guide. Heck, we even have Scriptures that show us point blank what Jesus would do and what Jesus did. Here it gives us a specific example by saying; “Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
It’s specific in saying to think about the “hostility he endured from sinful people.” Think of all Jesus went through, He was mocked, questioned, beaten, hated, and even KILLED from the very people he was dying on the cross to save!!!!
Think about that for a moment…..let it sink in! Okay, so for Jesus to go through all of that to save you and me, that’s enough in itself to stop writing because what more do we need to see about why we run this race and all the reason we should give our lives in return for the life that was given up so we could have life.
We’re in this race, things are getting hard and we are questioning everything, “why should I keep going? What do you do when it doesn’t feel like all the pain and sweat is working? What do we do when we feel like it’s not worth it?
We come back to this thought of Jesus enduring all this pain and suffering from sinful people, so we see that this pain and suffering we feel from running the race that has been set before us, attacking this ministry Jesus has left to us, it’s not some wild, out of the norm thing that is happening, it’s supposed to be this way! If you are experiencing pain and suffering in this race, that is a GOOD thing!!! That means when we feel attacked and feel like giving up, we can rejoice knowing that this is exactly what Jesus went through and it’s exactly what we’ll face in the race we run! If you’re facing pain and struggle in your life, that doesn’t mean the time spent devoted and dedicated to running this race in the best possible way isn’t working, that means IT IS WORKING!!! When we find ourselves facing glimpses of the pain and suffering Jesus went through, we can use that as encouragement, what strengthens our faith to know we are running the right way when it hurts, to know that it is worth it to not grow weary or give up because the result of the pain just like the result of Jesus’ pain, is for our own salvation but also the salvation of lives around us!!!