“Therefore, 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It was my Freshman year of high school and I was beaming with pride and joy because I had just received the news that I had made the Varsity Track & Field team! Now this was my very first experience with track, so I knew next to nothing besides the fact that it involved running. The day of my first meet my coach decided to place me in the 300m hurdle race and I was nervous, yet excited to try to conquer something new!
The race was about to begin and it just so happened that I was in lane 9. I thought that because I was in lane 9 that I had an advantage because precious, naïve, 15 year-old Chelsea thought that because it appeared as though I was closest to the finish line that I had the shortest distance to run. I thought to myself, “Hmm… I’ll tell them know that they gave me a head start after the race!” (That first track meet was also the day I learned that no matter what lane you are assigned, they all end up being the exact same distance!) All the runners were set, and the gun finally went off. At first it was smooth sailing and I was sprinting with confidence when all of a sudden I felt the presence of my competitors catching up to me. We rounded the bend of the track and I could see the finish line at this point. I knew I only had about 100 meters left until I could rest. I made the crucial mistake of quickly glancing to the left of me and in doing so messed up my stride and tripped as I was jumping over the 4th hurdle from the finish line. I fell, but got right back up. Exhaustion and embarrassment filled my cheeks. Frazzled yet determined, I continued on but then tripped and fell over another hurdle! I pressed forward once again and miraculously came in 2nd place.
Relieved that my first track race was completed, I learned one valuable lesson that day: keep my eyes straight ahead! Had I not looked to the left of me I most likely would not have tripped over that hurdle which bruised both my ego and my knees. In the same way, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Proverbs 4:25 says, “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.” The enemy of our souls is prowling around like a roaring lion trying to tempt us and throw us off track, so it is essential that we stay focused on and keep our eyes on the Prize—our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus not only finished the race marked out for Him, but He also conquered and overcame the one hurdle that no one else could--He paid the price for all our sins by dying on the cross and rising again so we could be in right relationship with God!
How does this apply to right here and right now? What first comes to mind is the hurdle of comparison. It’s true that comparison really is the thief of joy. I know that when I take the time to dive into my Bible and intentionally do my very best to stay focused on Jesus instead of trying to keep up with everyone else around me then I’m so much better off. I’m a better wife, daughter, co-worker, and friend when I simply stick to running my own race and quit worrying about the pace of those around me.
What are some hurdles you have faced/are currently facing in your life?
How do you pick yourself up and focus on Jesus after you trip and fall?
I challenge you to run the race God has marked out for you no matter how high the hurdles you may face, and remember that it is for the joy set before you. God will be there cheering you on every step of the way!
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for reminders in our lives to keep our eyes fixed on You and You alone! Thank you for Jesus and that because of Him we get to be in relationship with you and run the race you marked out for us. Be our fuel and motivation to live our lives in a way that is honoring and pleasing to you. Thank you for your amazing grace that you offer us freely. We love you with all our hearts and souls, and we pray this in your Son’s beautiful name, Amen!