"And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown." (1 Corinthians 9:25)
We have all heard of the Boston Marathon. As stated below, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews compares the life of a Christian to a marathon that begins at the moment of your conversion and ends at your death.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." ( Hebrews 12:1-3)
These Hebrew Christians were tempted to drop out of their race because of the severe testings, trials, and persecutions they were experiencing. So the author wrote this long sermon to encourage them to persevere to the end by following the examples of past heroes of the faith. They were encouraged especially to follow the example of the faithful witness, Jesus Christ. This passage gives us several principles to keep in mind if we want to endure, persevere, and finish the race of the Christian life.
Life is a Marathon...
A different translation reads, "Let us lay aside" or give up and abandon every thing that hinders...When training for a marathon, I need to lay aside and abandon the pain of the lactic acid building up in my leg muscles, I must push through perceived pain, and continue the race. I need to loose any weight, or excess body fat which would weigh you down...same as life!
We must cast aside anything that would hinder our progress, and cause us not to cross the ultimate finish line...death. What are you running towards? We are all running towards something, some "finish line". I can't simply hope to finish the marathon and hope I cross the finish line, right? No...I must train as though I plan on it. I must train, and push my body to run farther than it's ever run before. I must feed my body the proper fuel.
Sin is simply anything that causes us to "miss the mark". To run this race called life, there are obstacles along the way, traps, and pitfalls. There are many stories of how people entered and ran a marathon, thinking that they prepared good enough to finish, expecting to finish the race, only to "hit the wall" at a certain mile...Similarly, in the race of life, we can be living in such a way that we may think that we will "finish", cross over those pearly gates into a place called heaven. But are you sure you'll go to heaven when you die? You want to be sure don't you? If you're not sure, take a minute to take "The Good Test" in the upper-righthand corner of the screen.
We're all part of of the ultimate statistic...10 out of 10 people die. It's not how you start...but how you finish...
My $ .02
Until Next Time...