Let us run the race… We know the verse from Hebrews. We’ve heard many lessons and sermons from the 12th chapter of this great book. But what does running the race have to do with 10 Days of Purpose? Let’s answer that question with two E words:
Running The Race: Error
Have you ever heard someone impose a meaning on a passage of Scripture? They read the Word and attempt to give the meaning. There’s just one problem. Their explanation is not accurate. Instead of telling what Scripture really means they overlay (impose on) Scripture with their own thoughts. It usually comes out as something the speaker wishes Scripture said. And that can be a far cry from the real meaning conveyed in the Word of God.
Would you do that? Probably not. But have we done that? The question is related to this great command for us to run the race that is set before us. This is one of those places where believers with good intentions can inadvertently impose on Scripture. That happens when/if we look at Scripture through the lens of culture.
I have helped your cultural disposition with pictures of individual competition and accomplishment. We love to see the winner run through the tape with their arms held high. We imagine ourselves in that scene. And then we transfer that scenario onto the Biblical page. And the race we are told to run becomes all about individual glory and achievement.
Before I make an error I should add that there is individual responsibility for the race we are called to run. Each of us must be intentional, have perseverance, and lay aside those things that would slow us down. So those elements are there. But there’s a great deal more…
Running The Race: Encouragement
10 Days of Purpose is about encouragement. And a proper understanding of God’s command about how we should run will encourage every one of us!
Tools for understanding are plain to see. Notice the pronouns in the verse:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…
God calls individuals to believe in Him and His Word. That is a matter of personal faith. But once that happens then His sovereign wisdom places us into a family of believers. And it is in the context of His divine family of faith that we:
- Exercise our gifts
- Minister to others
- Encourage one another
- Glorify Him
And that list could be much longer! But you get the idea.
So the race we are called to run is better thought of as a relay. We run and work as a team. That’s how we run together. Each of us has been gifted in certain ways. We’ve each been called to a certain piece of Kingdom work.
As I do my part of His work I am to assist you as you are doing yours. Yesterday’s post was about assisting you and those who cannot help themselves. And this idea of helping and encouraging each other should encircle the entire family of God. That means we are each faithful to our own calling and we stay engaged with each other by coming alongside brothers and sisters to encourage them. Together we are passing the baton of faith to those who will run after us. But…
That doesn’t happen like it should because we have an enemy! He distracts runners with discouragement.
Running The Race: Encouragement For YOU!
The enemy wants you to have that individual race in mind. That idea allows you to believe you are alone. So when the race doesn’t go well it’s easy to believe that there is no one else to help. And nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve all been overcome by the enemy’s scheme. I know I have.
I know I am not alone when readers reply in comments on these posts or in my email. I am not alone when Christians respond to the call for mission opportunities. When people let me know they will pray about upcoming mission events then I am encouraged. And a few help pay the bills. That’s encouraging, too.
And just so you know, I have no expectation that any individual can engage in, or support, every mission opportunity I publish. People plug in when and where God moves them to do so. That’s part of their race. And I write and teach in order to encourage those who encourage me and even believers I will never hear from. That’s part of my race.
So let me wrap this up with a vivid reminder of the things I’ve tried to convey. You may remember Derek Redmond. He was an Olympian who gained unexpected fame in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He pulled a muscle in the middle of his race. Trying valiantly to finish, he hobbled toward the finish line even though he knew he would be last. Derek’s dad ran onto the track and helped his son finish the race. It was very moving moment. You can see it HERE. If you watch it, just know you have a Heavenly Father Who is more than able to help you finish your race. After all, apart from Him we can do nothing.
When/If Discouragement Catches You
Transparency demands a disclosure. It seems there are never enough laborers for the Lord’s field. There is always something that needs funding but not enough resources to do it. That can get discouraging. But remember those people God puts around us in our family? Well, some of them write great songs. And this one by Kari Jobe is a great antidote for the enemy’s schemes to weigh us down with discouragement. Enjoy!
Happy running, and run for this goal…
Soli Deo Gloria!