February 29, 2020
- By Ed Powell
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"Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:1-2
The Jewish believers were going through a great deal of difficulty, including many trying experiences; things did not immediately go well with them. They often found themselves separated from loved ones, stoned, threatened, persecuted, and ostracized from society. It caused them to ask, "Why should we follow Jesus anyway? After all, we had so much going for us before we believed and followed Him. Why should we pay this kind of price and suffer these kinds of things, just to identify with this movement and align ourselves with this man Jesus?"
In Hebrews 11, the writer gives examples of many "heroes of the faith," whose lives were characterized by FAITH amidst unbelievable suffering and hardships. He gives the challenge to every believer: "Wherefore, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS."
Dr. Bill Coker gives some penetrating thoughts regarding the race that we run in our spiritual journey..."What a beautiful passage, because it reminds us of things we should never forget. One of the reasons I love and appreciate the Bible and my faith in Jesus Christ is, that it is a REALISTIC FAITH and a REALISTIC WORD. The writer compares our life to a race that will not be easy; there is a struggle to be engaged in with those of different values. There is a conflict with the evil ways of Satan, and we will face a continual challenge to our priorities. Adversities will be on every hand. It is a road paved with difficulty. But that is what discipleship is all about. Life is a 'battle' and you have to make a choice. Discipleship means entering the battle on behalf of the gospel of Jesus Christ, by taking our place and engaging the enemy in the resources and sufficiency of Christ! We need to concentrate on the 'steadfastness' of our race, rather than on the 'swiftness' of our run. The first step 'costs,' but the last step 'counts.' Our eyes need to be fixed steadfastly, 'looking unto Jesus' with complete confidence and unwavering faith, with patience and perseverance.
"I was watching the Pepsi 400 stock car race at Daytona International Speedway recently, and I was strikingly impressed with what Jeff Gordon, one of the top stock car drivers, had on his dashboard. It was one word in large letters: PATIENCE! So many variables occur during the course of a race that can put a driver out of contention, but the one who drives with patience and perseveres with purpose often is the one who gets a break and surges ahead, gets the checkered flag, and crosses the finish line the winner! Where in the world would we ever get 'unwavering confidence' apart from Jesus? We cannot look to preachers, for preachers fail. Certainly, we should never look at each other for we are so undependable. There's only ONE to whom we can look, the ONE whose LIFE never varies, the ONE who never fails, the ONE who never changes, the ONE who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, the author and finisher of our faith! Turn your eyes upon Jesus with steadfast trust! 'Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus.'"
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2020-02-29
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