Sprinting to the Finish Line

Sprinting to the Finish Line

Ben CerulloBy Ben Cerullo5 Minutes

“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

As we approach the conclusion of another year, I’m reminded of runners who must press on until they reach the finish line. The writer of Hebrews pictures this as a massive stadium, where we are watched by “a great cloud of witnesses.”

In order to successfully complete this race, we’re given specific instructions. First, we must “throw off everything that hinders” us. This means examining our lives for relationships or activities that are slowing us down or impeding our progress in the Christian life.

Next, we’re told to cast off “the sin that so easily entangles” us. This may be a heart issue like unbelief or an area of our lives where we are disobeying the Lord.

Then we’re instructed to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” There are actually two separate principles here: (1) Instead of giving up when things get hard, we must persist and persevere; and (2) Each of us has a unique calling that God has specifically designed and “marked out” for us to fulfill. Take a few moments to allow the Lord to search your heart and show you whether you’ve truly discovered His highest purpose for your life. It does little good to run with endurance if you’re not on the correct path!

Finally, we’re told that successful completion of this race requires “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” There are so many distractions in our world today, especially during the holidays. In the midst of all the chaos and craziness, it’s crucial to give the Lord our complete and unwavering attention.

He Is Your Prize

Remember that the race isn’t about being number one in the eyes of others, but being number one with your Heavenly Father. Pleasing Him is all that matters. Your salvation and relationship with Him are far more important than saving the whole world or making your loved ones happy at Christmas.

The Lord must be your prize — nothing else and no one else. When He is your life and your top priority, everything else will fall into place.

In order to run a successful race, you must have passion. In my own life, I’ve sometimes fallen into the trap of keeping my eyes more on reaching lost souls than on my intimacy with the Lord. I have had the privilege of traveling the world and preaching to tens of thousands of people at a time. But although I’ve often spent hours in prayer every day for those meetings, I sometimes forgot to simply enjoy my relationship with the Lord.

One day God told me, “The revelation you walk in today will never replace the intimacy it took to bring you here.” I was cut to the heart.

Keep Your Focus

My friend, I pray you will keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as we complete this year and prepare for the next. Cast aside all that holds you back, and chase Him for no other reason than He is worthy. Before you lay out your needs before Him, just spend time with Him. After all, He knows what you need before you ask (Matthew 6:8).

When the Lord is your prize, you won’t have to strive. When He is all you desire, the issues you face will pale in comparison to “the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”