Run with Endurance
Topic: Endurance Scripture: Hebrews 12:1–12:2
The first part of Hebrews 12:1 refers to the heroes of the faith in chapter 11. Just to pick one example, we could talk about Moses, who “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” Moses’ faith prompted him to take action. They were men and women like us, who disobeyed God sometimes, but who in the main exercised faith, and deliberately chose to stay on a trajectory of faith. People like Sarah, and Noah, and Rahab, and Abraham…they’re cheering us on in the race.
Before we run, we’ve got some things to do, we’ve got to get ready. The NLT translates this part of v. 1 like this, “let us strip off every weight that slows us down.” There are non-sinful things that make it harder for us to run with endurance. And then we come to “the sin which so easily entangles.” That verb, entangles, led me almost immediately to the parable of the sower, and Jesus’ explanation about the seed that fell among thorns. In Mark 4:18-19 Jesus talks about three things that choke the growth of the word in our lives: 1) the cares of the world, 2) the deceitfulness of riches, and 3) the desires for other things.
It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. This race requires endurance. It’s us, it’s plural, not singular. Note the pronoun used in these commands: let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles, let us run with endurance the race. We’re not running alone. There are people along the route cheering us on, and we need to cheer on our fellow runners. (Hebrews 3:13 )
What is the race set before you? (Eph 2:10 ) We can look at the Boston Marathon route map, but in this race we almost never know the whole route in advance, usually just the next step or two.
Coming to verse 2, we see the phrase “Fixing our eyes on Jesus…” This last part is the most important. As we are laying aside every encumbrance, we need to be continually fixing our eyes on Jesus. As we are laying aside the sin which so easily entangles, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus. As we are running the race with endurance, we have to fix our eyes on Jesus. We need to be focused on Jesus. In our modern world, there are so many things demanding our attention. It can be hard to focus on anything!
Then, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus, not football, or a comfortable retirement, or even a successful ministry, not even John Piper…but Jesus. Jesus is worthy of our focus. The whole book of Hebrews is about Jesus’ superiority.
Why do we need to fix our eyes on Jesus? Quite simply, because without Jesus we are hopelessly lost. The best illustration of that I can think of comes from Matthew 14:22-33 , where Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus…but seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
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