Running with determination!
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
During the Olympics, athletes represent their nations or countries. These nations send their best athletes in their discipline to compete and bring honor to their countries. Following Jesus is spoken of in Scripture as entering a race. The moment you agreed to be a follower of Jesus, you entered that race. The Christian life is a race; at times you may feel very good in how you run and progress in your walk; but at times it turns out to be very difficult and the temptation to quit will always be there. Perhaps you know people who stopped running their race; they stopped following Jesus because it got too difficult. Where would you find the motivation to continue running your race for God? Where do you get encouragement and strength to run? The author of Hebrews wrote to Christians who were going through lots of trials and persecution; their running their race had gotten difficult. However, he motivated them to keep running with perseverance. In this passage we find encouragement and the key to running with determination.
Hebrews 12:1-4 Where to find motivation to run your race.
Remember those who ran before you: (cloud of witnesses) In chapter 11 the writer talks about people throughout Scripture who displayed great faith during uncertainty; amid persecution. Their faith was worthy of mentioning because they ran their race well. Their examples speak to us telling us to persevere, to not give up trusting. We know lots of people who ran their race well and their example is left for us to emulate. As individuals, we all are in a race, but we all don’t run at the same speed, and we are in different stages or phases in that race. No one can run your race for you. People can encourage you to continue running but it will be up to you how well you run.
We too are surrounded by the example and testimony of many who ran and many who are still running; their example is worth imitating.
In order for you to run with determination, you must first decide to do it.
Get rid of anything that hinders your progress in your race.
What is keeping you from running well?
Anything that doesn’t allow you to progress or move forward in your walk with Christ; you must lay aside. Sometimes it may be a relationship you must let go; friendships, (unfriend people on FB) your job, family, entertainment; attitude etc. Anything or anyone who does not promote progress in your race, you must let go because they will hinder your progress and make your running difficult.
-Sin can weigh you down in your running your race.
The sin that so easily entangles us. (So easily clings to us) Where there is sin, there is shame and guilt and these things will keep you from being ineffective in the kingdom of God. The temptation to sin is always present and when we give in to the temptation, we tend to go backward in our running; we get stuck in an ungodly pattern. Genesis 4:7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.
Sin wants to entangle us to keep us from running well. It will weigh us down and we must throw off anything that keeps us from advancing in God’s kingdom.
To show progress in our Christian race we must lay aside whatever hinders us from running well.
To run with determination you must:
Keep your focus on Jesus. (fix your eyes on Jesus)
In order to run with perseverance, you must keep your focus on Jesus.
It is easy to lose focus when things don’t go as we want; when the struggles are real and you feel you don’t have strength left in you to move. Consider Jesus.
-The author and perfecter (the one who will complete our salvation) Why Jesus?
He also ran his race when he came to earth; he never lost sight of his mission. He had to endure lots of things in order to accomplish the mission of redemption. Jesus endured the cross and its shame, pain and agony. He endured because he knew the joy of victory. His goal was to finish the task appointed to him. He said that his food was to do the will of the Father. God’s will for the Son was to finish his mission.
-Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
-Think of Jesus (consider Jesus) v.3 when you are tempted to give up or grow weary. When it’s painful, think about Jesus. When you feel downcast, tired and ready to give up look to Jesus. Remember what he did for you.
In any struggle we may have, we have not yet resisted to the point of shedding our blood. But Jesus did and this is why we must look to him when tempted to give up. (v.4) He is the ultimate example of what it means to run with determination.
1996 Summer Olympic in Atlanta, Georgia. Wasiqi represented Afghanistan at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He injured his leg (hamstring muscle) before the marathon, but took part nonetheless. He completed the race despite his injury, after limping the whole way, with a time of 4:24:17, well short of his personal best of two hours and thirty-three minutes. He finished 111th and last, nearly an hour and a half behind the second-slowest competitor. Wasiqi reached the stadium and found “workmen […] preparing the arena for the closing ceremony” and “tarpaulin being laid across the running track”. Preparations were suspended long enough for Baser to reach the finish line.
Why didn’t he give up even though he was hurt? He focused on his country he was representing.
“I am Baser Wasiqi, and I am from Kabul. I represent my country to the world…to see… that Afghanistan is living, has not died, after 16 years of war.” “It is not important to be first, second or 20th,” “It is important to come here and finish.”
You and I represent God in this world and he has given us a race to complete, run with determination, get rid of whatever is hindering your progress. Do not give up even when it is painful to continue. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus in order to run with determination.