I can think of no better way to end this week than the words of Hebrews 12:1–3.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
That’s been the refrain for this whole week: Run in such a way—run with perseverance.
It’s really a refrain that Paul repeats again and again as he writes to the New Testament churches. It was especially poignant in his letter to Corinth, the location of the renowned Isthmian Games, which, at the time, were second in fame only to the Olympic Games. Athletes throughout Greece would converge every two years during the spring to compete. Unlike the modern Olympics where gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the first three places, in the ancient games, only the winner received the crown.
With that in mind, look at what he reminds the Corinthians. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 9:24–25, NIV)
Your race is not my race. It’s yours alone and, the good thing is, God has marked it out for you. The same God who holds the world in His hands and loves you fully has gone before you. Maybe even more importantly, He has promised to be right by your side the whole time.
So don’t lose heart, don’t grow weary, fix your eyes on Jesus and keep going. It will be so worth it in the end.
I can’t wait to see you at the finish line.
Lace up your running shoes. And don’t quit.