“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
As believers, we have been given grace for the race we call life. God gives each of us everything we need to run the course He marks out, at the pace He sets. Grace is God’s power to succeed in a way that brings glory to Him—not to us. So as we enter the 2022 leg of the race, let’s consider a few truths to keep us on track.
Be accountable. Runners typically do better when they run together. The accountability of a running partner keeps them on stride. The same is true spiritually. Being accountable to other believers is a deterrent to discouragement. Those who run the race with us, challenge us. Those who have run the race before, inspire us. And to those who run behind us are encouraged to keep going.
Don’t compromise. Successful runners get rid of anything that slows them down. Sin is like extra weight, robbing us of the energy to run effectively. We tend to compromise by thinking that our character flaws and pet sins don’t weigh much. But the sins we tolerate create spiritual weariness. Weight and weariness not only take the joy out of running the race, they slow us down and have the potential to trip us up.
Stay focused. Marathon runners are not just physically fit; they also have incredible mental focus. Our spiritual race is definitely a marathon. How well we finish will be determined by whether our focus stays on Jesus or if we get distracted. He knows the course because He’s already conquered it. When Christ is primary, then the course we’re on is secondary.
None of us know what obstacles we’ll face in the coming year. We can be certain, however, that God will provide grace for the race. He will equip us to run well—even through adversity. Turning the calendar is another mile marker, bringing us closer to the finish line.