In Hebrews 12:3, the writer tells us to "consider him (Jesus) who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." In Galatians 6:9, Paul says, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." It is possible to grow weary in living the Christian life, and if that is not attended to we can actually lose heart and become discouraged.
That remark in Hebrews 12 comes in the context of explaining to us that we have a course to run. The writer says that we are going to have to have perseverance in order to run this custom-made course that the Lord has laid out for us (referring to the full extent of our Christian life here on earth.)
The writer had just spent a full chapter listing heroic people of the past who had earlier run their course. These folk had done things in their lives that served the purposes of God, often at great personal cost. In verses 35b through 38, nameless people are mentioned who suffered greatly for the cause of their faith. This picture is presented to us to help us to realize that we are not running our course in total obscurity. They are there to cheer us on, but also to remind us that when the going gets tough we are not just representing ourselves and our own goals.
So we are instructed to get rid of the things we know to be sin, as well as things that may be okay for others but would be a distraction for what God has for us to do. We are to run our course, not someone else's course. While we realize that the stands are full of the saints of the ages, we do not focus on them. We are to focus on Jesus. He is our coach, He is the energy provider, He has instructions at each turn, and He is standing ahead at the finish line with a special award just for us.
When the going gets tough (and it very likely will) we are to remember the course that He ran. It was the most grueling of all courses. No one really understood his course and they were not cheering him on. The crowds booed as he carried his cross and it looked like he was finishing his course here on earth. His own Father looked the other way. But that was not really the end of His course. It was a dark, sharp curve that no one at ground level really saw. But as He rounded that corner, came out of the dark tunnel, crossed His earthly finish line, and entered the gates of Heaven, the crowds there exploded. Hallelujah, what a race, what a Savior!
Paul used a race analogy in Philippians 3. He says, "One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." He goes on to say in the very next verse, "All of us who are mature should take such a view of things."
Well, the focus is back on us. I guess my course is not so bad after all. I might need a little rest, a little refreshment, a little encouraging, but I'm in this for the long haul. I am not going to let my Coach and my team-mates down. What about you?
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon