The Race Before Us

Bible Study:
The Race Before Us

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1b)

Read: Hebrews 12:1-2; John 13:14-15; 1 Peter 2:21-23

What Is God Saying?

Life is well defined as a race.   It calls for discipline and determination, and, above all, perseverance.  We must be willing to lay aside every weight, and the sin that clings so closely.   We must lay aside the garments that would hamper our progress and even cause us to stumble.

We must make any sacrifice that is necessary.  If we think the race is important at all, it must become important above all.  We who travel far must travel light, but not alone.  Our inspiration comes from two sources – the heroes of the faith who went before (described in Hebrews 2).

Their faith was tested and it did not fail.  Above all, we are inspired by the examples of Jesus Christ.  He is our example by His life, His willingness to serve (John 13) and His triumph over suffering (1 Peter 2).

How Does This Apply to Us?

Jesus doesn’t tell us how to run the race, He shows us how.  That is why we need to look to Him.  He doesn’t tell us that we must be willing to serve others and take care of the humble necessities of life that others might be blessed.  He shows us.  Jesus doesn’t tell us that our love should suffer long and be kind.  He shows us how, when reviled, not to revile again.  He shows us how, when treated unjustly, we may rise above it all and continue to live for Him and with Him, having hearts that are filled with His love and guarded by His peace.  He is saying, “You can do it.

You will be glad if you continue to run the race with patience, for you will finish the race with joy.”  He even endured the Cross for the joy that was set before Him.  “Look to me,” Jesus is saying, “I did it for you.  Now you do it for me and for the others who may be ‘looking to you’ and will be affected by the way you run the race.”

Pray With Me

Loving Father, of all the blessings with which my life is filled.  I count this the greatest, “Looking to Jesus …” It is m y greatest privilege.  It is also my constant need.  May this be a day that finds me living in the continual triumph of faith because I have found the secret of looking continually to Jesus.

Looking to Jesus is my greatest need.  When I turn my eyes from Him, small trials seem great and large ones seem impossible. My heart is filled with an unsatisfied hunger until Jesus becomes the supreme object of my desire.  When I look to Jesus, I see myself and others in true light. When He fills my vision I cannot be worried about self or annoyed with others.  I can lay aside the weight of repeated failure.  I can lay aside those clinging selfish concerns.  I can take up the burdens of others.  In sorrowing hearts I can waken slumbering chords of faith.  All this, and more, I can do when I make it my continual business to look to Jesus.

Looking to Jesus….” It is more than desperate necessity, it is abundant blessing.  It is more than the must of duty, it is the plus of beauty.

It is more than a necessary yoke to bear, it is a boundless joy to share. To His glory who is the Pioneer and Perfector of my faith.  Amen.

Moving On In The Life Of Prayer

Jesus’ life was and is an example and we do well to follow it diligently. We are also privileged to look to Him for encouragement and strength. I remember with emotion and great clarity a sermon I preached 52 years ago.  I don’t have to search through old folders, yellow and brittle with time, to jog my memory.  It is as fresh as yesterday.  It was born of great travail and delivered with great labor in a seminary class.  It was on this text.  I was looking to Jesus then and I am still looking to Him as Author and Finisher of my faith.  Jesus is set before the runners (any and all Christians) as the example on whom they are to fix their eyes.  His living, loving and understanding presence is still my greatest encouragement. His example is still my highest goal.  His life is still my shining ideal.  I still “look to Him.”  I always will.  Won’t you join me in this?  By “looking to Him”, weary and burdened walking can be transformed into an unencumbered race of victory.  “Looking to Jesus” is not only our greatest need, it is our most abundant blessing.

by William S. Stoddard

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Used with permission.
From the book:
First Light: Morning Conversations with God.

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