By William Oldham

“Therefore we also, seeing 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 set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

          The aim of the whole Bible is to draw man back to His Creator, the Lord God Almighty. To bring man to believe that God is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. The Bible clearly reveals, in words easy to understand, God and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. The Word of God tells man everything He needs to know about God and Christ, in truth and in love.

          God has allotted man so many years here on earth in which to come to know, love and serve Him. Scripture tells us that God has numbered our days before we were born. Psalm 139:16 The writer of Hebrews likens this life to a race that God has set before us, a race that every child of God should want to finish successfully.

          In order to run our race successfully, we must lay aside everything that would hinder or hold us back. Jesus said, “…in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 Jesus ran the course that His Father had set before Him, and He finished it successfully. Jesus experienced all the situations of life that weigh folks down.

          Jesus never worried about where He would live, what clothes to wear, or having something to eat. He taught us that our Father in heaven knows what we need, and if we would seek His kingdom and righteousness, He would provide everything we need. Matthew 6:33 Jesus trusted His Father completely, entrusting His life to Him, one day at a time. That’s the way Jesus ran His race.

          In order to run our race successfully, we must lay aside the sin that so easily entraps us. Man speculates on this point but the Scriptures are clear; Jesus was, “…tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15 Here is God’s word on anyone who claims to be a Christian and lives in sin.

“…[Jesus] appeared so that He might take away our sins. And in Him is no sin. No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him” 1 John 3:4-6

“Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” 1 John 2:4 

          To run our race successfully we must endure the troubles, trials and temptations that life throws at us. To encourage us to, “Keep on keeping on,” the Scripture reminds us that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. They are not watching us, as some say. It is their individual testimonies of how they trusted and obeyed God, and how God faithfully brought them through every trial.

          Finally, and most important of all: if we would run our race successfully, we must be looking unto Jesus. This is not a Sunday morning affair. The example Scripture gives us is that of the love relationship of husband and wife, whereby the wife submits herself to her husband in everything, and the husband loves her as his own body. 

          The church is the body of Christ; He laid down His life for her; Jesus ever nourishes and cares for her; the church in turn, by trust and obedience, ever looks unto Jesus, waiting for His return for His bride.

Brother Bill is a Bible teacher and can be contacted at bboldham@sbcglobal.net

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