Strength for the Race

Hebrews 12:1-2

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do you like to run? In junior high school I ran a little cross-country. I liked how running made me feel free and light and the challenge of the ups and downs of the trail. The pursuit of running to not only beat my competitors but to better my own time was part of the appeal as well. For the most part I was in control of my own destiny.

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The race of life is a little different. We don’t always get to choose our race.

When life is filled with joy and we see a flat, easy road ahead of us we feel like we can run it forever. It can be tempting to run it on our own and not depend on Jesus or draw strength from our faith. We may also run past others, not stopping to see their needs or learn from those who have run their race before us.

Sometimes it feels like our life-race is uphill. We look ahead and behind and only see twists and turns. It takes endurance to keep going and not give up. It can seem impossible when we are tired and overwhelmed. We feel like there is never an end to the race, or an easy road ahead of us.

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In an uphill race it is so important to keep our focus on Jesus and to allow those around us to come alongside us, support and encourage us. It can be so easy to feel like we’re all alone, but we don’t need to be.

As the writer of Hebrews points out, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, both here on earth and those who have gone before us to leave examples of running the race with endurance. We can be reminded that we have the same reward waiting for us that Jesus did, an eternal forever with our Lord. Jesus endured shame, disgrace, and a nasty death on the cross to bring us with Him to this paradise.

We are made lighter and more free to endure the twists and turns of life when we examine what entangles and weighs us down. Repenting of our sins and releasing the weight of worry and the need to control our surroundings frees us and reminds us to look up, and perhaps find the good things hidden along our path.

Whether the race is smooth or an uphill climb we can’t do it on our own, but by the grace and strength of Jesus, the precious Holy Spirit and those He has put in our lives to walk alongside us, we can keep going…and find blessings along the way!

 

Blessings and peace along your race today,
Paula

 

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Week #5 ~ Words Worth Remembering

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.
                                                              Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

 

The road map. A trusted friend for many years and countless trips, many of us no longer turn to them for direction. With the invention of GPS we don’t have to learn to read a map or try to get it folded to fit back in the glovebox! 🙂 It’s a wonderful thing to be able to punch in where you want to go and have technology lead you there with little effort.

But…we’ve all heard stories of GPS snafus (maybe you’ve experienced one yourself) where the GPS takes us to a location other than where we intended to go. Unfortunately the maps in some units are not always updated and destinations unclear. Sometimes the GPS leads us astray and other times lead us in circles.

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Do you ever feel like you’re running in circles in your own life? Do you find yourself uncertain of which direction is the most important for you to follow?  With the busy lives we lead and the number of people and things demanding our attention it can easily happen. Sometimes it feels like we don’t really know where we are going.

Thankfully we have something better than a road map or GPS to direct us. God has promised in His word to show us the right way to go and direct our paths when we trust in Him and seek His way for us.

It sounds so easy in the verse above but how exactly do we do it? By reading His word and developing a close relationship with Him. Talking to God (prayer) about everything going on in our lives and sharing with Him our hopes, fears and questions will help us to know Him and learn to listen to Him. We begin to stop leaping into decisions without seeking His will for our lives and our paths become straight before us.

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Have you had an experience where God showed you a straight path when you were running in circles in your mind? I’d love it if you would share it with us in a comment below. Let’s encourage each other as we share God’s direction in our lives!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula