Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Running Your Race
Hebrews 12:1-2: 1: 1. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us
run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2. looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I want us to look at the race that is set before us, the way we run that race and the three key elements to doing what God has planned for each of us.
The race is your Christian life. From the moment you accepted Jesus as your personal Savior and your spirit was recreated with the Zoë. Life of God (2 Cor: 5:17), you entered
this race. So let's look closely at what these verses are telling us.
The first thing I want to notice is:
It is a race set before us.. It’s route, length and obstacles are already laid out. It has nothing to do with the plans you have or think you have. It has nothing to do with your goals or objectives. It is about what God has planned for you!
Genesis 13:15-17: "for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.
16. "And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if a man could number the dust of the earth, then your descendants also could be numbered.
The Living Bible translates verse 17 as:
Hike in all directions and explore the new possessions I am giving you.''
This race set before us is our Christian walk, it is the new possession were are to dwell in.
Deuteronomy. 1:8: `See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give to them and their descendants after them.'
Our daily Christian walk is the land we must possess. It is a gift from God. How are you possessing it?
Psalms 91:1: 1. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
One of the places you should dwell in is the secret place of the most High God, when you are in that secret place you abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
You run your race in such a way that you are continuously - 24/7 – under the protection of the Almighty!
This leads us to the second thing we should notice,
It is really mentioned first in the our text but I have placed it second. It is how we run the race.
"let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance".
Notice that the author gives us two things that slow us down in the race and sin is the second one. The first one is every weight. What is a weight? Strong’s New Testament Dictionary gives the Greek Word for weight in this verse as onkos - denotes "a bulk or mass"; hence, metaphorically, "an encumbrance, weight,".
Ask yourself what things in your life are encumbrances. What keeps you from fulfilling God’s plan, or keeps you from running the race God has chosen for you.
It can be many things, a lot of stuff can weigh you down and it not be sin. It can be your career goals, or you job, your family, your friends. It can be preconceived ideas or old religious training that has slowed you down. Whatever it is, identify it and prioritize your life. Your relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ should be the most important thing in your life. These areas are not necessarily sinful things, but can change your focus, and make you loose touch with the most important things, running the race with endurance.
You cannot run the race if you are weighed down with the wrong things, it slows you down and then you start looking for the easy path. God expects us as men and women of God, to fulfill these roles, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, employee, husband, father,
son, brother, grandmother or grandfather, aunt or uncle. But we do it in the way He has planned for us, not our way. We must submit to God and His plan for our individual life. Amen?
The second thing that slows us down is "the sin that so easily ensnare us."
Recently I read an article in the Gwinnett Daily News, about a county prisoner, who on Thanksgiving Day told the deputy sheriff that he had fallen down some stairs and hurt his back and he was in terrible pain. So they put him in handcuffs and shackles, and took him to a local hospital for x-rays. When they got into the x-ray department, they had to remove the handcuffs and shackles and as soon as they did, he pushed the deputy down and ran away. You see, he could not have run with the handcuffs and shackles on, because the deputy would have easily caught him, he had to wait until they were removed.
Unconfessed sin in our lives, are handcuffs and shackles that will slow us down and get us off the route planned. Both of these areas make us start looking for the easier route to run, and we get off track.
Proverbs 1:22-23: 22. "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my reproof; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
Too often we get off track because we prefer the simple way, the wider easier path. These verses plainly tells us that makes us as fools, scornful and hating Godly knowledge.
But if we turn at God’s reproof, He will pour out His Spirit upon you.
Your whole purpose in life, no matter what your sex is, is to come to know Jesus, love Jesus and serve Jesus. It is the Trinity of your relationship with God, know, love and serve. They cannot be separated. You cannot know Him and love Him without serving Him. You cannot serve Him without knowing and loving Him. It is a threefold relationship. You cannot be satisfied with the easiest simplest route. You must set your priorities.
Luke 10:38-42: Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.'' And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'
Now on the surface, Martha was not doing a bad thing. She was entertaining the Lord Jesus in her home. But you see, she let the task override the relationship, became distracted and probably tired and what did she do, she started whining. How many of us have done this? Especially with Church work!
James 1:22: 22. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Too many times, we interpret this as works, but in fact being a doer of the Word is obedience to God and His commandments.
It means keeping it before your eyes and in your mouth:
Joshua 1:8: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
It means praying continuously:
Ephesians 6:18: 18: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
It means obedience period:
Deuteronomy: 8:1:"Every commandment which I command you today you must be careful to observe, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers.
Set your priorities!
The third area I want us to consider is: "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,".
When you accepted Jesus, He set you on your path and He will help you finish it.
Jesus is our role model. We need to carefully study His life and mimic it. The most important thing Jesus said about His life is:
Hebrews 10:7: 7. Then I said, `Behold, I have come in the volume of the book it is written of Me to do Your will, O God.' ''
John 5:30: 30. "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
Jesus did nothing while on Earth except the will of God. This should be our model. We need to get before the throne of the Almighty God and seek His will in our life.
Jesus is the author, Greek Word is archegos (Phonetic: ar-khay-gos') a chief leader: --author, captain, prince. All of these terms denote someone who decides, and then leads.
Romans 12:3: 3. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
God gave us the faith to believe in Jesus, and He will perfect or strengthen us to finish our race. He will perfect, finish the developing of our faith, not us.
Philippians 2:13: 13. for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
If we open ourselves up to God, He wills in us to do what is required, to run the race, to stay on track. He wills us – He changes the desires of our heart to line up with His will and His Plan and then and only then can you run the race set before you with endurance Amen!
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "…and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "… with the heart one believes to righteousness…" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.