Running the race marked out for us. As Jim walks day in and day out, I think about this verse. The race marked out for us. I pray this for our kids, their spouses and for our grand kids – that each will find what is marked out for them. On a track, it’s a pretty narrow race, pretty regimented. But the race that God has marked out for us can be all over the place – lots of peaks and valleys, twists and turns. I have always said that God doesn’t seem to lead us “as the crow” flies, but He takes us the scenic route. You know, across this nation is not a straight line. It would be a lot faster if it were, but we would miss some beautiful scenery and even more tragically, we would miss some beautiful people – people who need Jesus.
We thought we had the route all set, but the highway we had picked out just doesn’t work all the way. We also thought we had the plan all set, but God had a different plan for us – purpose the same, plan a bit different. As Jim walks and I drive, we don’t know what is around the next bend – is there going to be a narrow shoulder, is there going to be a place to turn out, will someone stop to talk, are those clouds going to amount to anything? It’s very interesting, but today in the little devotional book, Jesus Calling, (August 4) it really speaks to it. It says: “Don’t worry what is around the next bend. Just concentrate on enjoying My Presence and staying in step with Me.” (If you can, be sure to read it.)
Jim avoids carrying any extra weight. There is an enemy who wants to trip us up. The writer of Hebrews says, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles….” So easily entangles. It is like he has designer distractions and temptations to get us off the race. He knows what will do it for each of us. You can try to rationalize things away with “that’s just the way I am” but Jesus said, “Deny yourself.” It occurred to me that denying myself can mean denying myself of “the way I am.” No excuses. Realize who you are and then “throw them off.” “Cast them away.”
But how? The passage goes on to say, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith….” Jesus marked it out for us. He started it and He will complete it, finish it, perfect it. Our part is to focus on Jesus.
Truthfully, that is how Jim is getting to New York. Jesus designed it. We had to downsize, get rid of extra things we don’t need. Then Jim walks. He walks. And he walks. And walks and walks. We have come across scenic roads, being rerouted from time to time. We have had twists and turns, hills and valleys. But we just keep focusing on Jesus. We know He can bring it to completion.
So what is the plan? First of all, listen to Jesus who is the author of the race. He will guide you to your race. He doesn’t say that He will reveal to you your whole race, but what He has for you now. Then we have to get rid of anything in the way. Jesus will reveal that to you, if you are willing to ask. With the “stuff” gone, we can run diligently. To stay the course, we focus, fix our eyes, gaze on Jesus. He will guide you, strengthen you, empower you. That is the way we run. That is the way we finish. That is the way we complete it. That is the way we win the race.
…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 author and perfecter of our faith… Hebrews 12:1b-2a