Endure the Race
By Ross Freeman
"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. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
“ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." (Hebrews 12:1-13)
The witnesses in the scriptures above are not spectators sitting in a grandstand watching us. This verse is telling us that their lives are a witness for us; we are to take note of their walk and their victories as examples and encouragement to us.
The Christian walk is referred to here is a race and is likened to a marathon (endurance), therefore, we must put aside anything that could hinder our progress in particular every form of sin.
We are not to look at other runners, in other words, we are not copy or emulate other people. We are not to model ourselves on the styles and abilities of others, but instead focus on Jesus who has given us our own style and abilities for the work He has called us to do.
Our suffering does not mean that God is not concerned about our welfare. God shows us that He is a true Father. He wants us to have sound discipline that is required to complete the work He has set before us. The chastening is corrective discipline used in our continual training. God does not do this in a harsh unbearable manner, but He does it in love, with our well-being in mind. These tests and persecutions are not there to discourage us but to strengthen us and bring us to spiritual maturity.
God is not responsible for the sufferings that we endure in its many forms, from many sources. God does however; use even adverse circumstances as instruments to accomplish His purpose. It is all for our benefit, again it is all necessary for our spiritual growth. Because of the beneficial results of these sufferings, persecutions, tests and trials, we need to put aside all fear and faintheartedness.
We are to stand in faith, knowing what God is doing for us in and through us is for the benefit of others. We are to be examples that will encourage those who are beginning to waver and stumble.
Be Content in the Circumstances
“Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in what state I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11)
We need to be content in the circumstances we find ourselves in, not fearful, fretful or wavering, but trusting in God to bring us through despite the circumstances. Man may try to bring us down, but God vindicates and upholds those He has chosen to do His work.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
We need to fully understand that God, in the name of Jesus Christ, will enable us to do anything He asks us to do, nothing is impossible for him who believes. Remember our God is bigger than any problem we may face.
It does not matter whatever or whoever comes against us, if we are walking in God’s light at the leading of His Spirit we are walking in victory.
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
This verse tells us that God will supply our needs by a distinct and definite measure “according to His riches.”
In declaring this God makes it clear that He isn’t stingy when it comes to provision. His riches encompass all of creation so there is nothing we need that He cannot provide.