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, 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. Hebrews 12:1-2
What if we were to approach our Christian walk as an athlete? Would we lose some weight, get some lighter running shoes, schedule hours each day to work on our technique and form? Christians are athletes to a certain extent. Some of us are balance beam experts. We have one foot on the world’s beam and one in the air towards heaven.
I don’t know about you, but my technique needs some work. I’m running the race, but sometimes, it’s the rat-race instead of the grace race.
Keith and I are going through the Your Sacred Yes Workbook and DVD by Susie Larson, and I’m learning to get rid of the weights that aren’t on God’s plan for me. It’s difficult, but as an athlete adjusts her diet, focuses upon the end result, the medal or prize, I am trying to look towards Jesus and the prize, eternal life with Him, the joy set before me.
Jesus focused on the joy that was set before Him, looking at the cross and shame to His place seated at the right hand of the throne of God. That joy was χαρά, gladness, calm delight, blessedness.
Matthew Henry writes of the joy of Jesus:
He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.
Suffering was part of the race of Jesus. Although He prayed that there was another way to accomplish the joy that was set before Him, there was no other way, and he accepted the pain of the cross, the shame, the isolation for an eternal moment. He knew what was waiting for Him, and it was worth it. It was joy unspeakable.
Imagine, the Author and Finisher of our faith, our Creator, our Comforter, our Savior, loved us so much that He set aside His glory, and suffered pain, shame and His Father turning away from Him for an eternal moment, all for us!
Let’s rid ourselves of anything that holds us back from the race that God has planned for us, and let’s train like we’ve never trained before. We have the joy of the Lord set before us.
Jesus, thank You for Your great love, for Your endurance, for Your focus upon the joy that was set before You. Teach us how to be so focused that we will run the race You have given us with endurance, looking to You and the joy set before us. We love You, Jesus.