Have you ever felt like quitting? You go and go and go and don’t think you can go any further. Maybe it seems like you’re not getting the recognition or the blessing you once had is gone. You have mentally checked out, the passion is gone. It can happen in church, your marriage, your job, even your Christian life. You’re tempted to get out, quit, and find something that will excite you again. Is it worth it to keep going?
In Hebrews 12:1 we discover how to keep going – how to live a faithful life.
“Wherefore seeing we also 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,” (Hebrews 12:1)
Because of pressure, the Hebrew Christians wanted to abandon their faith and return to the legalism of the Old Testament. But the writer encourages them through the stories of faithful people to live a faithful life. Today you will discover 3 essentials to living a faithful life.
In Hebrews 11, 11 Old Testament heroes are used as examples of people who continued their life in faith. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Rahab all followed God by faith. It was this ‘cloud of witnesses’ that gave encouragement to live a faithful life. You can learn valuable lessons from other faithful people to live faithful yourself.
Let me use one of those as an example – Joseph. Joseph was his father’s favorite of 12 sons. The others were jealous and sold him as a slave and deceived his father into thinking he was dead. But in slavery, God blessed Joseph to the point where he was appointed great power in Egypt. In spite of all the bad things that happened to him, he was able to save his whole family from a deathly famine. His brothers were worried that now that he had all this power, he would take revenge against them for what they did to him. However, Joseph’s response was ‘you did it for evil but God allowed it for good’ and he forgave them. Joseph trusted God and would not allow his horrible circumstances stop his faith. Joseph can be a great example to follow when your faith is challenged.
I encourage you to find someone who is faithful that you can learn some valuable lessons. Maybe it is another Christian that you can learn from. Or maybe you can find a Bible character that you identify with. I did an online quiz called “What Bible character are you?” from Crosswalk.com. It told me I was Noah. This is what it said: “Among the most important leaders of all time, it looks like literally everyone has a little to thank you for. You follow your hunches and you remain true to what you believe, no matter what the naysayers may say. (Don’t worry, you won’t be hearing from them for much longer.” Find someone to follow
Hebrews 12:1 Scripture tells us to “lay aside” two things: every weight and every sin. Everything that slows our progress down life’s road should be discarded. Weights aren’t necessarily bad things. But they are things that impede our progress. Sins easily trip us. No one is without sin. But if we let sin stay with us, they will delay our journey. The Greek word used here for ‘sin’ is hamartia. It’s an archery term and it means to miss the mark. The mark is what God wants us to do. In anything, if we haven’t hit God’s mark in our life we need to get rid of it. How do you get rid of it? Confess it and He will forgive it (1 John 1:9).
So what good thing do you need to let go of so you can get something better? What do you need to confess and seek forgiveness?
We are encouraged to patiently run the race that is laid out in front of us. It is so easy to wish we were on someone else’s path. But we are to run our own race. Life is a marathon and we need to patiently run our race. Don’t let others pull you away. Run your race.
But you might not know what your race is? Maybe you are unsure of the path. What should you do? Keep alert. Follow the markers and just take it one step at a time. Talk with God. Listen for His directions.
One day your life race will be over. Do today what you will have wanted to do today when your life is over.
Who is the greatest runner in world history? Is it Usain Bolt? Jim Ryan? Jesse Owens? Flo Jo? Or maybe Forrest Gump? Many would argue that the title should go to Steve Prefontaine from Oregon. At one time he held the American record in 7 different track events from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters. As a junior in high school he undefeated and won the Oregon state title. As a senior he was undefeated and won the national title. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a 19 year old and competed in the Munich Olympics, receiving a bronze medal. During his career he won 120 of the 153 races he ran. 80%. He never lost a collegiate track race longer than a mile. In May of 1976 he was preparing for the Summer Olympics in Montreal. He ran a race in California, won, and attended the celebration party with other runners. As he left, his blood alcohol level was 0.16. While driving, he wrecked into the side of a mountain, flipping his car on top of him and he died before the ambulance could arrive. He was 24 years old. His life race was over. When your life’s race is over, will you be okay?