On August 3-5 I will be doing a “Theology Matters” retreat with a group of young people at Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website). The topic, “Unlike Jesus,” will focus on the issue of friendship evangelism and how we are often not friends of sinners like Jesus was.
But I also get to address the supporters of the camp who have chosen the topic “Continue the Race” for their celebration. So, in these posts, we are thinking about the passages of Scripture that use the running metaphor. We’ve seen that God calls us into the race (from Phil. 3:14),that we have been challenged to train for the race (from I Tim. 4:7-8), and that training for this race requires strict self-control (from I Cor. 9:25). We’ve also noticed that running this race requires obeying certain rules (from 2 Tim. 2:5).
Let’s move to our fifth and final passage which is found in I Corinthians 9:24 and in Hebrews 12:1-2 and it is that —
We read in I Corinthians 9 “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” We then read in Hebrews 12 “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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Just a few comments about these two passages:
2. We are often our own worst enemies in the race! (we cling to things that hinder us and stay entangled in sins that slow us down) (Heb. 12).
3. We don’t determine our race track or course — that has been laid out for us! (Heb. 12).
4. We don’t look behind us or at the other runners, but at Jesus as our goal (Heb. 12).
5. We look to Him as our example, our pioneer, our perfecter, our prize! (Heb. 12). As John Piper puts it, God is the gospel!
6. We experience a variety of emotions during this race — endurance, scorn, shame, and . . . joy! (Heb. 12).
How’s your race going? Don’t give up! Keep your eyes on the prize — Jesus Himself!