Run Your Race
Loving Father, I thank You for the many people You have used to help me grow in my faith.
Read Hebrews 12:1-13
 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.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,  because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?  If you are not disciplined-and everyone undergoes discipline-then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!  They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.  “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy should we welcome the Lord's discipline?
The author’s enjoyment in celebrating the heroes of the faith in the previous chapter obviously hasn’t caused him to lose sight of his main goal. He comes thundering back to the point in the first verse of today’s passage: “let us run with endurance the race [God has] set before us” (ESV). Whether you would choose the circumstances you are facing right now (and, from what we understand, the Hebrew church certainly wouldn’t have chosen theirs), the race you are running is the race God has set before you. Your performance in the race so far may have been, well, a bit shaky. But just as an athlete stays perfectly straight by fixing his eyes dead ahead, so can you, too–by looking straight at Jesus (2). Faced with his own suffering, Jesus looked ahead to “joy” even though he was headed for a cross. What was the source of this joy? Surely the pleasure of returning to his Father (2) and knowing his approval. So the reason that God allows us to go through suffering in the present is the incomparable joy of being children of the living God (7).
Are you “out of joint” (13) by circumstances that haven’t gone your way? Ask God to help you persevere faithfully.
Lord, please help me to live as Your faithful child even when things aren’t going well. I want to please You.
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