If you have been a Christian very long, you have probably heard Hebrews chapter 11 referred to as being “the roll call of the heroes of faith”- of whom it was said (v 34,35) that these…….”through faith subdued kingdoms, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions (that was Daniel!) ….. ie. Out of their own weakness – and dependence upon God, these were all made strong.” Each one of them was running a race – and running it to win!
What race?…. the one that is set before you and me! The race being a course to run, a fight to be fought – more explicitly – the “good fight of faith.” God set this race before us – to again give man a choice – ie. the first man Adam chose life apart from God….. but God so loved all of us that He called man back to Him. The only requirement being that we believe His word/His plan…..: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son -Jesus – that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:16,17). It would be (and it is) OUR CHOICE – the choice of each individual man and woman – our choice whether we would choose Jesus/Life or choose to live as we please – apart from God and His reconciliation plan.
But for those who do choose Jesus ….. there is a race set before you – a course that each of us are given to run……And the Word of God tells us HOW to run it – to win!…… (Heb 12:1,2 – Paraphrased) “Seeing then that we have the testimonies of so many men and women of faith – that lived – and ran the race that was set before them……each one bearing witness – that what they did – you and I can do!… Okay, just please tell me how….. ie. I remember wanting so very much to know how to run and how to grow in getting to know God…..
Well – this is how the Word of God instructs us to successfully run that race
1.”lay aside every weight”-a weight being something that holds you down…. and like the runner described in I Corinthians 9:24-27, we understand that a runner who wins – is one that is first determined to move forward, and is willing to apply disciplines to their life that make their run more certain – restraining the flesh where its excesses hinder their run – thus they/we comply with the instruction to “lay aside every weight”
2. … and the sin which does so easily beset us” (notice that it says “sin”- in the singular case)….. So what then is the “sin” that easily besets us?….. Could it be the sin of “unbelief”….. ie. “Did God say? (That is the very thing that the enemy – aka Satan – used on Eve to get her to begin to question what God had said – Genesis 3:1)……
“Did God say”?….. Not very often, but occasionally in my first years after being born again, I would KNOW that I had heard something from God – but it was very easy for doubt to set in in just a day or two….. and it would be like “I did hear from Him – but now I’m not sure somehow” – that type of uncertainty and doubt……
But I have learned that as we get to know God and to recognize His voice, we can set a “standard” for holding on to what we know we heard from God. That “standard” I refer to is something a Godly woman told me years ago – which is simply this: “Don’t doubt in the dark what God gave you in the light.” ….. When I heard her say that – I KNEW – I had just heard something that I could use as an “anchor” to help me hold on to the things that I would hear from God……
From that time forward, I began to hold that standard/principle forth whenever I would hear something from God and then begin to have doubts about what I had heard. I would….. ask myself the question – “DID I hear this and know that I heard it?” Immediately the admonition “Don’t doubt in the dark what you heard in the light” would rise up in my spirit – and with it would come the peace and the assurance that “Yes” – I did hear that from God.” …..And that would settle the matter for me right then and there. It was also clear to me that the enemy was at work seeking to get me to doubt what I had heard from God…..For you see, if we give over to doubt and turn loose of the word that God has given to us – we have nothing to base our faith on – because “faith comes by hearing (and understanding that we heard) the word(s) of God. It is by faith that you and I receive anything from God……So learn to mind this rule that you “don’t doubt in the dark what you heard in the light!
3. …. And let us run with patience the race that is set before us”……. for it is through faith and patience that we receive the promise(s)! (Hebrews 6:12)
4. “looking unto Jesus – the author and finisher of our faith”….. keep your eye on Jesus – not on the difficulties that may come to cause you to doubt….. but if you do sense doubt or feelings of discouragement trying to come in – remember that giving thanks and entering into personal worship or speaking God’s Word – will get you back on track and on the right course again!
And those my friends, are the instructions that God gave us in His word to help us to stay on course and run our race to win!