"A New Year…run the race…"
One of the things that is sometimes hard to do is to stay focused. When a football coach reports after a game when his team has just lost, he often refers to the team failing to remain focused and hence that was part of the reason for their defeat.
The writer to Hebrews reminds his readers that “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 perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2).”
When Trudy and I were serving in Foxton, we occasionally went to Foxton Beach and we were surprised by the amount of driftwood that had been washed up onto the beach. Much of this wood initially came from the Manawatu River which emptied into the sea nearby.
Well, let’s not behave as driftwood this coming year. We don’t just drift from one year to the next. God calls us to run a race and to do so with perseverance. We know the destination is assured for us by Jesus Christ, so let’s not just drift along.
The writer to the Hebrews actually says we should lay aside every weight that would hinder us from running. Just as an athlete doesn’t run with his overcoat on, nor should we Christians think we can run well if our hearts are divided or weighed down with concerns. If our hearts are divided and weighed down, then the chances of staying focused on the finishing goal will be severely hindered. That doesn’t mean we will not arrive there, but it does mean that things will be increasingly difficult and awkward as we try to run.
Here are some things that we can do to help us this coming year. Take time out to read God’s word, prayerfully and carefully. Take time to pray. Pray for your family, your neighbours, your church and for the world you live in. Take some time to remember loved ones who have gone before us into glory. Take courage from the way they fought the difficult battle of staying focused.
We, like the early Christians, are surrounded by so many Christians who have fought the good fight of faith. Let us do likewise, forsaking all, we trust in Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. It will not be all that long, before we too, will receive the crown of life. So take courage and run. JZ