Hebrews 13:1-We Are Called to Run With Endurance

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Image purchased from dollarphoto.com

Hebrews 12:1   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,

Ask any runner what their biggest challenge is on the day of a race and most will tell you it’s pacing themselves.  Or just running their race, and not trying to keep up with everyone else.

This is especially difficult at the beginning of a race when everyone is full of energy, and will probably run at a speed that cannot be continued for long.

Unfortunately for me the importance of pacing myself was learned the hard way.

I can remember running a 5k in 2013 knowing that the right pace was around an 8:30 minute mile (which is quite fast). After the starting gun went off however I found myself trying to keep up with everyone in front of me. When we crossed the one-mile mark a glance down at my running revealed the first mile had been run at a 7:45 pace.

Meanwhile one of my training partners was having a very hard time during mile-one, and ended up running a much slower pace as planned.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened

Around the beginning of mile two my legs started to cramp up on me because my first mile was way too fast…as I struggled my way up a hill who do you think passed me by?

You guessed it…the same training partner who I had left in the dust.

That race was a painful experience, but also ensured that I wouldn’t try to keep up with everyone else [1]

Paul in the book of Hebrews has just gotten finished writing to Believers about heroes of the faith [2]who were faithful to the plan of God for their lives (even if it involved pain). He then follows up in Hebrews 12:1 by encouraging these Christians to run “a race of endurance” just like those heroes.

Running with endurance gives the idea of consistency (like my training partner) instead of giving too much at the beginning, and then fading out soon after like me.

This verse is convicting because there are few Christians who run their race with endurance (I fail to do it very often) but there is a  deeper truth here that should convict us even more.

God is most glorified by endurance

Jesus when He was on the earth told a parable (story) about a sower that threw seed onto different kinds of ground (Matthew 13:3–9). Later on Christ explained to his disciples that the ground in this story actually illustrated different kinds of people.

  1. Seed on the path is an unsaved person who doesn’t understand the Gospel (13:4, 19)
  2. Seed on rocks is a Christian who grows quickly at first, but doesn’t endure (13:5, 20–21)
  3. Seeds on thorns are Christians who falls into a sinful lifestyle (13:7, 22)
  4. Then the seeds on good soil that produce fruit are Christians who obey the truths of Scripture (13:8, 23)

Christ is clear that the Christian who started too quickly (seed on rocks) and the one who didn’t finish (seed on weeds) didn’t bring Him glory. instead this is reserved for the one who consistently brought forth fruit.

This doesn’t mean that our relationship with God is based on works since fruit is only produced through a relationship with Him (John 15:1–5). Instead running with endurance means constantly seeking, and obeying the Will of God.

The greatest challenge for me from Hebrews 12:1 is I’m not a very good finisher.

I’m awesome at sprinting away from the starting line spiritually, or keeping up with the leaders. But don’t look for me around mile three because I will be long gone.

At some point we need to understand the people who run the fastest don’t bring as much glory to God as the one who faithfully runs their own race.

  1. Or as my training partners like to say, “don’t chase the rabbits”  ↩
  2. Hebrews 11:1–35  ↩

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