Running the Race of 2021
Do you know what I like about the new year? I get to start over. I can leave last year behind and look forward to the future. I made it across the previous year's finish line, and I’m ready to run a new race in the new year.
In light of last year, I wanted to find a verse to encourage us to begin our journey into 2021. Many of us (including myself) start out great, but soon enough, life starts to happen, and we get discouraged. How do we keep a positive perspective despite what we may face? Let’s shed some light on this subject.
Take a look at Hebrews 12:1-2a in the New Living Translation. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Let’s begin with the word, therefore. Whenever this word comes up in scripture, we need to find out what it’s there for. The beginning of this verse alludes to Hebrews chapter 11, known as the Faith Hall of Fame chapter in the Bible. This chapter contains examples of people of the Bible and how they lived out their faith. Examples such as Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and many who are not named. This crowd of witnesses serves as our inspiration to live out our faith.
However, a couple of things can hinder us from living out our faith, and the writer of Hebrews wants us to be aware of them. The first one is “weight that slows us down,” and the second is “sin that trips us up.” The verse tells us to strip off or lay aside weight or encumbrances that can dominate our lives. What are these? They will look different for everyone; it could be anything from worry, fear, or lack of faith. It is the “thing” that gets in the way. Then our verse points to sin, the type of sin that can be a constant problem for us. We get rid of these two hindrances to run the race with endurance or without giving up. Notice it says that the race is set before us by God, so we aren’t alone in this. He is cheering us on.
Okay, so how do we run this race? We run it by keeping our eyes on Jesus; we set our focus on him, much like one running a race who focuses on the finish line. This helps us keep a positive perspective when life doesn’t go the way we want it. He is the initiator and the perfector of our faith, meaning he is the one who makes our faith complete. Start this year with Jesus and keep your focus on him, and no matter what happens, you will get through it. This is how we keep going in 2021.