I remember when our family was on a spring break vacation when I was in high school. My dad woke me up early on a Saturday morning with “Quick, get up. I just signed you up for a 10K race.” As I slowly was getting ready, my mind was wondering what a 10K race even was. After washing my face, brushing my teeth and lacing up my basketball high top shoes, I remember following my dad to a massive group of men and women, young and old. A few minutes of stretching and the gun went off. I did not know the course or the distance. I just finished basketball season so I was in good shape. But I had never run a 10K race. So, I followed the crowd as my half-sleeping body was screaming “Go back to bed. Why did my dad enter me in this race?!”
“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. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Heb 12:1
Christianity is a race - an adventurous race - an adventurous race with Jesus.
How is your race going?
The Author of Hebrews gives us a lot to consider in Chapter 12. Let's consider three of them.
The Author of Hebrews instructs the Christians to “to throw off everything that hinders” your race. He is challenging us to examine any barriers that are not necessarily sinful but interfere with our adventurous walk with Christ; this race.
What are the good things in your life that hinder your race?
I didn't know the 10k course. I didn't have running shoes. I didn't know what distance a 10k was until I started calculating in my head as my mind became more alert.
Let’s consider hobbies. Some of us love great novels, sports, movies, video games. Do we enjoy them to escape the Adventurous Christian race? Or do we use them to walk with Christ more closely and to bring out God’s way of living? For example, as you talk with a co-worker about the most recent super hero movie, you might suggest that God has special divine gifts that He gives to every Christian to enhance the world and help others know about Christ.That is a conversation starter with anyone, no matter what their faith background is. If the co-worker is a Christian you can then find out what spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gave them and how are they teaming up with Jesus to build the church and reach those who are far from Jesus. If they are not a follower of Christ, they will be intrigued about divine power that is give by God to humans. So, how are you using your hobbies to team up with God to encourage others? Or are you just escaping the race? If so, maybe it might be time to give up that good hobby...
The next description the Author of Hebrews uses is “sin that easily entangles us.”
Wearing basketball shoes, long shorts, and a sweatshirt might be considered "sins that easily entangle" real runners. What entangles you to prevent you from running this race? Do you know your top temptations? Do you know when those temptations attack you at vulnerable times? Do you have the Sword of the Spirit memorized to give you offensive weapons to over come them? Do you have two or three trusted people in your life who hold you accountable and pray for you? If not, why not? Giving into our temptations stops this adventurous race until we humble ourselves and confess.
The last description that I want us to consider is “run with perseverance.” The adventurous Christian race is hard. It is not for the feeble handed and wobbly kneed. It is for the courageous. It is for the trained. No one can persevere in a race or in life if they don't have the training necessary to keep going. We are to run without stopping, quitting or giving up. We don't have to be the fastest, smartest or most successful but we do need to keep going.
Let’s daily deeply connect with Jesus.
Let’s daily be empowered by the Sword of the Spirit.
Let’s regularly meet with accountability friends.
Let’s be fully alert to the daily adventures Jesus has for us.
Running the race together,
“(Peter, Andrew) Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” Mt 4:19
Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Mt 8:22
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me.” Mt 9:9
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." Mt 16:24
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mt 19:21
Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Jn 1:43
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12
“If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Jn 21:22
Why did Jesus invite people to follow Him?
For God so loved the world...
God does not want anyone to perish...
"In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish." Mt 18:14
"You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." Jn 11:50
"God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 2 Ptr 3:9
Christianity is an "INVITATION DEPENDANT FAITH."
Who have you invited lately?
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.