Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC

Hebrews 12:1-2 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.   

It’s a new year, 2020! Wow! 2020 felt so far away at the turn of the Millenia didn’t it? Well…it’s here, and the question is are we going to make this year count for Christ? So, from the starting line I want to encourage you this year to run the race. Let’s run this race with endurance for Jesus. Many people make commitments to personal Bible study and prayer in January, but sadly many lose sight of those commitments early in the race. It reminds me when I was a middle school kid running track. Yes, it is true, I ran track as a middle school kid, and was pretty good at it too. I still remember in our district track championship I was slated to run a leg of our 4×440 relay. In this relay 4 different people run an entire lap around the track, and when it came to me I grabbed that baton and off I went. The competition was well in front of me at the start and I would have nothing of that. I took off as fast as my legs could carry me and quickly grabbed the first place spot. But…about half way into the lap I realized I had bitten off more than I could chew. I had set my pace too fast and was quickly losing my stamina. When we rounded that last turn I was still in the lead…but not for long. Soon the other runners caught up to me and I stumbled to the finish line. 

The writer of Hebrews tells us here to run our race of life for Christ, and he says it must be run with endurance. See, this devotional race with Jesus is not a little 100 yard dash, it’s a marathon. It’s a grueling race to the finish. It’s not necessarily the fastest person that will win, it’s the person who can maintain the best pace for the entire race. So, this year, run this race with endurance. Start out just reading this devotional and spending 5-10 minutes in prayer. Set your mind on the Lord, repent of sin, and take one point of application away for that given day. Just start there and set a steady pace. I encourage you to stay faithful to doing this every day, but even if you miss a day here or there, just jump back in the next day. Don’t quit. Don’t get weary. Just keep running one stride at a time. 

Here we are told how to endure. We must lay aside sin. Going into this we must all recognize that we are absolutely desperate for Jesus and His grace every day. Lay aside sin and distractions that keep you from the Lord. Secondly, look to Jesus. Remember He who endured the cross for you and I. He’s worth our time, money, effort, and attention. Keep your eyes on the finish line where Jesus stands ready to welcome you into His Kingdom.  Lastly, be intentional. He says to run the race, not coast or drift. Tracks have clear running lanes and obvious opponents. So, when and where will you spend time with the Lord. Set an alarm. Schedule an appointment. Have a friend ask you about it. Be intentional. 

Well, here we go! I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in us all this year as we run this race for Jesus. On your mark…get set….LET’S GO! 

Father God, as we begin this journey together I long for Your Presence and grace. Help me to run this race for You with endurance. Fill me with Your strength and wisdom every day. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.