Thursday, June 30, 2011

Running The Race - 4. The Crowd

What do you hear? Are you in quiet surrounds right now? Are you reading this on your iphone with lots of people bustling around and the sound of people talking and laughing and kids playing?

Maybe you are at home with a hot cuppa. Wherever you are, I want you to listen a bit closer. Just like during a race, you have to listen closely to hear specific voices, specific words or phrases called out from the crowd. They could be cheers of encouragement, pieces of advice or not so positive remarks.

When you are running your Christian race, what do you hear? Who do you look for in the crowd? I pray that you see friends in the crowd, that your family members cheer you on, that your church family inspires and encourages you from the sidelines. But what do you do if that is not the case? Do you feel like you are running this race alone? Or even worse, are the people in your life critical of the path you have set out on? Who do you see in the crowd and what do you hear?

I am training my son not to look for me in the crowd during his running races, but to keep his eyes on the finish line. Otherwise he slows down, loses track and even strays off course. We do draw strength and encouragement from those around us, but our focus and goal should always remain at the finish line. The Bible gives us some great encouragement to help us with this task.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..." Heb 12:1-2.

Our main goal is to fix our eyes on Jesus. Then we hear the words of truth, and we are on the true path. He called us to begin this race of faith, and he will be there at the end, when faith will no longer be required because we will see Him face to face. The 'great cloud of witnesses' that inspire us are the heroes of faith described in Hebrews 11. Since so many have gone before us, and run this race, when we remember them, and focus on Jesus who is the Saviour of us all, we can get a second wind and run all the more.

So if you have slowed down, or lost track, or been distracted by the crowd, look up. Fix your eyes on Jesus, read Hebrews 11 and remember those that have gone before us. And while you are running, be one of those witnesses for someone else. Be an encouragement. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds...let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Heb 10:23-34.

I pray that as you hold this in your hand, as you read your Bible, as you meet with other Christians, that you would be encouraged, and encourage one another to fix your eyes on Jesus, and that you would be equipped to run the race, and to be one of the witnesses that encourages someone else.

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