Hebrews 12: 1-2
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
As runners line up at the starting line of a marathon, the air is electrified with feelings of optimism and excitement. Full of energy, the athletes are ready and raring to go.
Then, “Bang!” The starting gun sounds, and they’re off!
The first few miles go by quickly, but soon the muscles start to ache and burn, and one by one, the runners who began so eagerly begin to fall back and drop out.
This scenario is a good parallel to the beginning of each new semester. We are certainly not all marathon runners, but the fact is, we all have a race ahead of us to run.
Most of us have come away from Christmas break rested, refreshed and optimistic, maybe even armed with some New Year’s resolutions. But there will come a time (maybe you’re already there), when the pressures of the semester will begin to weigh on us. We’ll be tempted to quit or turn aside to find some easier way.
But that’s not the plan God has for us.
In chapel this semester, we’ll be exploring the theme of Running the Race presented in Hebrews 12. It is there that we find the key to running our respective races: “Looking unto Jesus.”
In Jesus Christ alone we find a perfect example of strength, perseverance and victory in the face of ultimate struggle.
From the beginning, Christ faced criticism from a world that did not understand Him. He was mocked, beaten, forced to stand trial before men with a vendetta against Him and nailed to a cross, where He suffered and died alone, his ears ringing with the jeers of ridicule uttered by all the dark monsters of hell. And all this to ransom a world of lost sinners who rejected Him.
In spite of complete physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion, He remained faithful to the work He was given to do.
And in the end, it all paid off. Not only did He endure incredible suffering, but in His endurance, He conquered death and sat down, His infinite work of salvation completed, at the right hand of the throne of God.
This semester, you will face trials and struggles. There will be times when you feel alone and discouraged. You will be tempted and challenged and stretched, maybe in ways you never could have imagined.
But don’t quit; don’t run away; don’t give in. Instead, look to Jesus and find strength to keep running the race.