Living in the 2012 Olympic City, we can relate to the common biblical comparison of the Christian faith to an athletic track event. The author of the letter to the Hebrew believers encouraged his readers to strip away every impediment of sin so that they could run their race freely and successfully right to very end.
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 (Hebrews 12:1-2).
As in athletics, the secrets of success in the race of faith are discipline and endurance. We must keep pushing forward no matter how hard or tough it gets. The prize is none other than Jesus himself, who is urging us forward, step by step, ever closer to the finish line where he is waiting for us.
Jesus, as our forerunner has gone before us, enduring everything we have to endure – and so much more. His race meant embracing the pain and the shame of the cross, and his prize was us, the redeemed people of God. He totally triumphed in his quest and has accomplished for us eternal salvation. As both the author and finisher of our faith, he guarantees us an entry into the grandstand of his glory – heaven itself.
That should encourage us never to give in, fall back or disqualify ourselves from the race. We can draw from him the grace to help us in time of need and the assurance of faith that is solid evidence of the reality of the things we hold dear. This race of life is real; it puts us in touch with the truth of who Jesus is – Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.