About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
On The Finish Line
Even with my
legally blind eyes, while in high school I was the fastest 100 yard dash
runner in my grade. I don't
recall ever losing a race. When
I was running, winning was the only thing on my mind.
I was focused on the finish line, as Hebrews 12:1 and 2 admonishes. "Since we are
surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything
that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with
perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ..."
The witnesses in
this passage are in reference to the Old Testament people in chapter 11
who trusted God despite the fact that they never received what they
trusted Him for. They
persevered in faith until the day they died.
This passage tells
us to throw off both sin and things that hinder our race of faith.
In Greek, the verb "throw off" is an aorist verb.
This suggests that we must "once and for all time" throw off
anything that distracts us from fulfilling God's will in our lives that is
portrayed here as a race.
Unlike a 100 yard
dash, God's will for our lives is a marathon.
When I ran 100 yards I ran as fast as I could.
When I ran a long distance race, I paced myself.
That I did in 1981 when I ran a 2 and a half mile race as a
new-comer to a Fairfax, Virginia, church's yearly summer games.
No one had ever beaten my friend Keith in that race.
I was determined that I would.
I kept pace with him until the last quarter mile, when, despite my
weariness, thirst, and weakened legs, I took off as fast as I could.
I not only wanted to win the gold medal of the game's premiere event,
I wanted to beat Keith, and I did. I
became an instant hero. Someone,
namely me, finally beat Keith. I
felt so proud of myself.
Hebrews 12:1 tells
us to throw off anything that hinders us from successfully crossing the
finish line of faith. Anything
includes good things. Too much
of a good thing isn't good. Food
is good, but too much food isn't good.
If a good thing consumes our lives to the neglect of God's will, it
We are bombarded
with countless distractions, along with material, social, and even
religious clutter that hinders us from running our race of faith.
For example, many of us can't even spend a few moments with Jesus
in prayer without our cluttered minds wandering in all directions.
The Apostle Paul
was one focused man. Nothing,
not imprisonment, shipwrecks, persecution, hunger, stonings, or even
execution, distracted him from his mission.
His goal was to cross the finish line and say, "I have fought
the good fight, I have run the race" (2 Timothy 4:7).
Words like "fight" and "race" suggest an
enduring perseverance that is fundamental to any marathon.
I understand that few of us are called to run Paul's kind of race of faith. We are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, employers, employees, or whatever. We have different races to run, but still, we should aspire to run with a single-mindedness, a focused intentionality that drives us to the finish line.
I'm now 65 years old. The finish line for me is getting close. If I'm like my parents, I'll cross the finish line in just 10 to 12 years. I have no doubt that I will cross. I just don't want to limp across. I want to finish strong. So, I will fix, or focus, my eyes on Jesus. He is my prize that awaits me at the finish line.