Growing up, I had never been much of an endurance runner.
I enjoyed other sports, such as softball and volleyball, which didn’t require running for miles.
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I decided to run my first half-marathon.
I knew that I had to build up my endurance to complete this race.
Although 13.1 miles may not seem very long to avid runners, I thought of this distance as something I would never see myself running.
Accepting the challenge of running a half marathon meant that I had to commit to training and building up my endurance.
When my gym trainer heard about my desire to run my first half-marathon, she provided me with a 16-week half-marathon training plan.
She assured me that if I followed this plan precisely, I would be able to build up my endurance to help me reach the finish line in a reasonable amount of time.
Sticking to the training plan and committing to running four times a week was not easy.
But I was compelled to reach my running goal, and after 16 weeks of training, I earned my first half-marathon medal!
I ran with endurance!
Running with endurance can be found in God’s Word.
Hebrews 12:1-3 states,
“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 that was 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
The verse starts with “Therefore”, which means that we need to look at the passage prior to see what the “Therefore” is all about.
In Hebrews 11, the author shares an impressive list of Old Testament heroes who were well-known for their faith.
Since the Hebrew Christians had this “cloud of witnesses” as examples of faith, they were encouraged to continue running this race called life, fixing their eyes on the only One we can find faith in, who endured the pain and suffering on the cross.
Other translations of these verses use the word “perseverance” or “patience” in place of the word “endurance.”
This might be helpful in our understanding of the interpretation of this passage.
The author of Hebrews is basically encouraging the Hebrew Christians to run with endurance, perseverance, and patience, which can only be possible if we lay aside hindrances and sins that distract us from looking to the One who conquered the cross!
We can contextualise the same message that the author of the Book of Hebrews had for the early Christians to 21st-century believers everywhere.
God calls us to remember the people of faith who have set the example for us, to lay aside things that hinder our relationship with the Lord, and to run with endurance this race in front of us while fixing our eyes on the founder and perfecter of our faith.
May we all desire greater endurance!
PRAYER & REFLECTION
- Who are some people of faith who have set an example for you?
- What things has God called you to lay aside that have hindered your walk with the Lord?
- Identify some sins that cling so closely to you.
- What keeps you from running with endurance?
- What keeps you from focusing your eyes on Jesus?