Devotional for EBWU in Norway – Hebrews 12:1-3
A few weeks ago we the Olympics were being held in Rio. I didn’t really watch many of the events, but the athletes reminded me that I am in a race.
The athletes train hard for years; most things in their lives have to take second place to their training. It is wonderful to watch them as they run; to see the energy required to keep them going, to enable them to run. Most likely family and friends, coaches and trainers are there supporting them, cheering them on, willing them to win. How absolutely overwhelming it must be for the athlete who gives their all, uses their training and wins the race. What joy! What a sense of achievement it must be to them!
Read Hebrews 12 :1-3
These verses are such an encouragement to me, to us as we run our race – not a short distance sprint, but a marathon for all or our lives.
The athlete does not run weighed down by unsuitable clothes or excess weight. She is fit and in the proper running gear. As we run we must ‘throw off everything that hinders’ especially the ‘sin that so easily entangles’; it trips us up causing us to fall, giving less than our best and maybe losing the race. We must be free to run, and we are in the race to win!
There is a plan laid out for us as we run, our eyes are to be fixed on the goal, the finishing line, the prize, because in our race all who run and finish well receive the ‘gold medal’. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus. We are to consider Him – He is our Coach and Trainer and He is well equipped to be so for He has already run the race, yet He enjoys running it again with us.
Sometimes athletes can become hemmed in, or jostled by others, or maybe even tripped up. We are to pay no heed to that; our eyes are to be on Jesus. He faced much opposition but He never gave up or lost heart. He kept going. Sometimes we can become tired, we feel exhausted, occasionally things can become too much for us and we feel caught in a trap. The Hebrew writer encourages us to keep going. Our Coach is our constant Companion along the way and we can gain strength from Him. He runs at our side.
Eric Liddell said of his running ‘so where does the power come from to see the race to the end – from within. God made me for a purpose but He made me fast; when I run I feel His pleasure’. The power comes from within. It’s not in me, not in us, it is from God, the Holy Spirit Who lives within us and gives us strength. He is our source of power to see the race through to the end. God made Eric fast – that was God’s purpose for him. God has also made us for a purpose and when we are obedient to that purpose we can ‘run’ and feel God’s pleasure because we are fulfilling the purpose He has made us for. Do we feel God’s pleasure as live out our daily lives in obedience to God? It amazes me that God can have pleasure in me. Yet we know from Scripture that God delights in us and even sings over us (Zeph.3:17).
As we go from this time together which has been great and we have so enjoyed this time and Synnove’s hospitality. We maybe have not always agreed with each other but we have not fallen out. We have differences of opinion and sometimes we can be frustrated, but the Lord has been with us, and we praise Him.
If we feel that our burdens are weighing us down, lay them down at Jesus feet and remember run as instructed with no encumbrances, looking to Jesus Who runs with us. He is our strength and He will enable us to run the race with enthusiasm and patience until the goal is reached, and on the way may we sense God’s pleasure and give Him honour and glory.