“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-3
Even in my scuffed-up-sneaker, hair all a mess elementary school days, every race I participated in had a point. We might have simply wanted to know who could make it from the fence to the tree the fastest, but still, there was a plan and purpose.
Nowadays, I don’t like to run much at all, but I do know that races still always have a plan and a purpose. Marathons are exactly 26.2 miles, a 5k is 3.1 miles, and a 100 meter sprint is, well, 100 meters. Participants know not only how far they’re running but also why they are racing in the first place. They may want to beat their own best time, earn a spot on the winner’s podium, raise money for a good cause, or all three.
In Hebrews 12, our relationship with Christ is compared to a race. This parallel isn’t drawn because Christians are meant to compete against one another, but like other races, we do need have a plan and a purpose in this life: we need a worthy focus. It is so important to live life day by day, but you also need to know what the bigger picture is.
As Christians, we need run the race for Jesus instead of getting carried away by the distractions of this world. It can be so easy to get bogged down by all the shiny things this life promises us that consume our thoughts and feelings. Like footraces, obstacles can get in the way that make us get our priorities all out of whack, but instead of dealing with aching muscles and thirsty lungs, we get distracted by money, popularity, accomplishments, etc.
When we lose focus, we start to chase the wrong things. Ultimately, these things will lose their shine, but we serve a King who turned the ugly cross into a story of forgiveness and redemption. This same King is working in you and loving you every moment of every day.
So instead of centering your life on desires that won’t lead to fulfillment and accomplishments that won’t love you in return, throw off all your distractions and run towards the God who loved you first.