By: Kristen L. McNulty
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Are you tired? You should be. Running is tiring. And running is what we all spend way too much of our lives doing.
Running from problems. Running from people. Running from God.
The ironic thing is, we are in a race. Hebrews 12, 1 says as much. But there is a difference between the race that we are supposed to be running and the race that many of us are taking part in.
Too many of us are caught up in a race were we're running away from something. When actually the race that we're supposed to be in is running to something.
Hebrews 12:1 says "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."
There are two keys in that verse that I'd like to look at. The first is found in the words "let us strip off every weight that slows us down". That's where most of us have entered the wrong track. Instead of running the race of faith with God by our side, we've allowed ourselves to be weighed down with the things of this world. And instead of taking them off our back and offering them up to God, we pretend that it's not there and run as far as we can away from anything that brings those things to light.
We put sin on our back. Instead of dealing with it, we run away from people who might notice it.
We put burdens on our back. Instead of giving them to the One who promised to bear them, we run away from anything that reminds us of the pain we carry. Including God.
So we spend our lives running. Putting everything we have into this race away from ourselves. Only to wake up one day, exhausted, and completely headed in the wrong direction.
The second key to that verse is found in the words "let us run with endurance the race God has set before us". You see God's race is quite different than our own. While our race serves no purpose except to conceal our lives, God's race is one where we don't run alone. With Him by our side, a crowd of witnesses cheering us on, and often other runners on the same course, we can take off through this life and actually move forward. Where once we were zig-zagging through our lives to avoid any reminder of who we are and what we carry, we're now running in a straight line towards the finish. The end where God rewards us with those precious words "well done, Good and Faithful servant."
So which race are you going to run? You can remain on your own course, but trust me when I tell you that's no way to live. Stop where you are, take that heavy back-pack off, talk to God and let Him set you on a better course. A course where you're not running alone and where you're actually getting somewhere. A course that is a whole lot of fun. Because life is so much better when He's in it.
In closing, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"Donít you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."
We're all in a race. The only difference is, what and who are we running for and from.
This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.