"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was 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).
The Western Church is in desperate need of saints that will run with endurance. A cloud of witnesses is looking on; waiting with anticipation for the end of the race. Will they see us finish well?
Here on earth, people need more than instruction in running. They need more than stories about those that are running well. They need to see those in positions of influence running with endurance, as the followers of Jesus Christ. So:
“Let us lay aside every weight." God’s people are to be hastening the coming of the day of God (2Peter 3:12)! What is slowing you down? What is slowing down those in your spheres of influence? I confess that for me it is the world’s entertainment. However harmless it seems, the world’s entertainment distracts us from things above (Colossians 3:2).
“... and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Did you know that there is a narrow gate through which we must strive to enter the kingdom of heaven (Luke 13:24)? Jesus spoke of this as a matter of our salvation. What is preventing you from entering through the narrow gate? Ask the Sovereign Judge to search you (Psalms 139:23-24); then, exercise 1 John 1:9 for your deliverance.
“… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”The words of Scripture have been chosen carefully by God. Run, don’t walk!! Stop loitering around in the world. It is time to come out of her.
“… looking unto Jesus… who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” There are at least two reasons to look unto Jesus. First, He is our example. Run as He ran. He is most known for His sacrifice. Should we expect our running to be any different?
Second, we look unto the Lord for our transformation (2 Corinthians 3:18) – the work of the Holy Spirit, in response to our beholding the Lord. It is only from this transformed state that we will find the courage and endurance to follow Him.
“… despising the shame.”The writer of Hebrews encourages us to “go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach." What camp are you in? Are you sure it is not a concentration camp? Are you willing to endure the shame and reproach of His company?
“… and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”This is the destiny of those that have committed themselves to run with endurance; and it is their current spiritual position (Ephesians 2:6). He who endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 10:22).
In closing, let me encourage you that this is not a call for working harder. God is working in you to will and do to His good pleasure. This is a call to death – the death of self and its kingdoms. This is a call to surrender, sacrifice and submission – running with endurance.