The Greek Games were a spectacular display of the Roman world. Cities had stadiums, and stadiums were filled with spectators cheering the chariots and the runners, the fighters and the tossers of javelins. The writer of Hebrews lifts this familiar Olympic imagery to heavenly heights, “Therefore, 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 endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). The spectators, the cloud of witnesses, include Old Testament titans of faith such as Abel and Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, Moses and Rahab, David and Samuel. They have run their races, inspiring our efforts, and now cheer us on.
But I hate running. When my wife turned 40, she decided running a marathon would be a good idea. I hate running, but I love Debbie, so we bought a book, The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer, and did what it said. A 16-week training guide to run 26.2 miles, but the book said before we could even begin, we had to run 3 miles, and I couldn’t run 3 miles. I couldn’t run around the block. Took me a month to get to the point where I could start the book.
During the next 16 weeks, we worked our way up until we were taking 18 mile runs, but the week before the marathon, our bodies need to rest. The book says to take it easy, only run 3 miles.
Run 3 miles? Piece of cake!
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” ~Hebrews 12:11
Lord God, You began a work in me that You promise to complete. Do whatever it takes. I will, too. I’m not saying I will like it, but I want it. There is this joy in front of me, and I will endure whatever it takes to reach it.
Right now it seems like a lot of work to live rightly. Someday, it will come naturally. God, I will continue to throw off whatever is holding me back, and keep my eyes on Your Son Jesus Christ. He is my goal. I want to look like Him.