Wednesday, August 2, 2017

On Track

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that so easily hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."
Hebrews 12:1-2

Our God has given us everything we need to stay on track to run this race of life on earth. Of course the race is a metaphor; a physical picture of a spiritual life in Christ on earth.

The athletic competition of a race is mentioned often in Scripture: Ecclesiastes 9:11, Acts 20:24, 1 Corinthians 9:24, Galatians 2:2, Galatians 5;7, 2 Timothy 4:7, and of course, Hebrews 12:1.

In this highly metaphorical post I'm not going to call God our coach. He's not a coach who wears a ball cap. He is the KING of Glory who ultimately rules over the universe He created.  He is also our Father in heaven who delights in His children, loves us unconditionally, hears our cries, glories in our worship of Him, and responds and acts on our behalf with His love and His wisdom. 

"The LORD has established His throne in heaven 
and His kingdom rules over all." 
Psalm 103:19

When God's Word says, "Go"(Matthew 28:19) and "Run" (Hebrews 12:1) He equips us to "Go and make disciples" and "Run with perseverance."  He wants us to shine brightly! So we are without excuse because "His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness." 2 Peter 1:3

God has given us a "great cloud of witnesses" whose faithful testimonies inspire us to stay the course.
Yep. Metaphor again. Not literal cheerleaders in the stands, people.:)  However, they are a mighty heavenly throng of powerful testimonies!  This comes right after the list of faithful servants of God -- in Hebrews 11 -- who have gone on before all of us and who brought Him glory with their love for Him. They're some of our "Heroes of the Faith" who teach us and encourage us with their godly legacies of faith ordained by God: Moses, Abraham, Ruth, Joseph, David, Daniel, and so many more!

John Calvin comments on the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1: "Everyone should be prepared to imitate them; and he [the author of Hebrews] calls a large multitude metaphorically a cloud, for he sets what is dense in opposition to what is thinly scattered...they were a vast throng, they ought to more powerfully stimulate us...we are so surrounded by this dense throng, that wherever we turn our eyes many examples of faith immediately meet us. Faith is sufficiently proved by their testimony. We should rely on them as our guides and associates, and ought to go onward to God with more alacrity."

We see God surrounds us with supernatural ways because this race includes hurdles that can hinder, 

sharp turns that frighten, temptations that lure us to rebelliously change lanes, and choices to either stay focused in our divinely appointed lanes or go rogue.

Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish,  but understand what the LORD'S will is."
Ephesians 5:15-17

Calvin comments on running with perseverance: "[The author of Hebrews] calls us to the real exercises of faith, by which we might learn that Christ's Kingdom is spiritual, and far superior to the elements of the world." 

We can choose to run with Christ or run with the world. But God promises there will be different finish lines, though.

"Glorify the LORD with me; 
let us exalt His name together!"
Psalm 34:3
Polly :)