Run with patience

 

I thought I would begin this blog with the verses God gave me for my life soon after I became a Christian.  These verses have ministered to me and helped me to continue though trials and difficulties.  They are among the very first verses I ever memorized and I know I quote them to myself several times a week, especially when I am tempted to “become weary in doing good.”

Hebrews 12:1-2

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The chapter right before this one is a picture of enduring faith and the people who exhibited this faith.  This is the great cloud of witnesses referred to in verse one here.  The feeling here is that there are two senses in which the crowd witnesses the great Christian race.  The crowd, the heroes of the faith from the previous chapter, has participated in the race.  They have run and finished the race themselves and won.  Therefore, they are examples for us.  But not only are they participants, they are also spectators who are vitally interested in how we run the race.  They are cheering us on, encouraging us, and watching our progress.

The race requires two disciplines:

  1. We must lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily traps us.  The words “lay aside” (apothemenoi) mean to take off, to strip off and to remove as in taking off clothes.  We must take off “every weight” (ogkon panta).  All serious athletes train to “make weight.”  Anything that does not build us up and make us stronger is excess weight that slows us down.  We, as Christian athletes, must do the same thing Olympic athletes do; strain to remove all excess weight.   The weight referred to is the excessive closeness with the things of this world.  Anything in the world which holds us down, keeps us back, slows us down in the Christian race must be taken off and left behind.
  2. We must take off the sin which so “easily besets” (euperistaton) us.  This is the sin which clings, distracts, entangles, and trips us up as we run.  It’s the picture of cloth flapping around a runner as he runs, entangling and tripping him, causing him to fall. 

We must run with patience.  I confess that this is the part with which I struggle the most.  Patience (hupomone) means endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, constancy, and perseverance.  This is an active patience, not a passive one, but one that stands up and faces the trials of life.  When trials confront us, we are to set out to conquer these trials.    I remember the term “true grit” whenever I hear this passage.

Jesus is the supreme example of how this race is to be run.  We should always be looking to Him for our example.  Jesus participated in the race Himself – He is the very Author and Finisher of faith.  He began, originated, created, and gave birth to the Christian race and He perfected, completed, and consummated that race, running it to the finish.  He ran this race perfectly.

Jesus had a great inspiration – the joy that was set before Him.  This is the glorious day when he would be united and exalted with all believers; the day when He would realize all the glory and joy for which He died.

Jesus is the supreme example in discipline.  He followed the rules of the race, being ignored and despising the shame of the cross in order to finish the race of perfect obedience to God. 

Life can get overwhelming and difficult sometimes.  Living as God would have us live seems to become harder each day in our world.  But it’s good to remember that there is a race set out before each one of us – marked out specifically for us before the foundation of the world – and that we have the supreme example of Jesus to follow.  We are being encouraged from the cloud of witnesses and Jesus’ example shows us the glory that awaits us at the end.  He’s there waiting for us.  We just need to continue running the race until we cross that glorious finish line.

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4 thoughts on “Run with patience

  1. faith6601 says:

    I agree with your analysis of the verses quoted; but, we must look for answers as to our requirements after we “lay aside every weight and sin”. We must be careful never to leave a vacuum, for Scripture teaches that it will be filled with worse than what was driven out. Ephesians 4:23-24 talks about what is necessary after “ye put off your former lifestyle”. First, it emphasizes the absolute necessity to “be (or continue to be) renewed in the spirit of your mind. To be renewed means that it must have existed at one time. The spirit of the mind is not relating to the intellect; it is relating to the principle of our inner spirit which governs and controls and operates our mind – the power of the mind; not simply the abilities of the mind, but the power that controls and directs the abilities. Being renewed in the spirit of the mind is essential to Christian progress; it involves the recognition and apprehension of the facts of our having been translated from the dominion of and power of and kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of/power of/dominion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Romans 6:17-22 enters here: verse 17 says you have “obeyed from the heart” the salvation message. Verse 18 says after being made free from sin, you became the servant of righteousness; then verse 19 says as you previously yielded your members servants to sin, now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. This can only be accomplished through the spirit of the mind being renewed!! Back to Eph.4:24 which states “And (simultaneously with the putting off of the old and the renewing of the spirit of your mind) that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Col. 3:10 says “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him (you)”. Then the latter sections of each of the Epistles are specific guidance as to how we are to refrain from doing certain injurious actions within the body (sins!) and what we are to do instead.
    I enjoyed you post and wish you God’s Blessings!!
    Robert

  2. crossroadschristiancounseling says:

    Robert
    I agree with you that we must fill the vacuum with the things of God. The things of God are light. Jesus invites us to come to Him as his load is easy and His burden is light. Think of the freeing power of a clear conscience! It is the sin that weighs us down, never God’s requirements.

  3. Jamie says:

    “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” I have read this verse countless times and for some reason, this stood out to me today and really ministered to me. Sometimes we forget that He too despised what was done to Him. You bless me, sista!!!!

  4. crossroadschristiancounseling says:

    Jamie,
    Yes, He despised what was done to Him, too, but remember He kept His eye on the joy set before him. We can follow His lead by remembering His promises for us!

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