Hebrews 12:1-3 – Running the Race

In Hebrews 11 the writer explained what he meant by faith, and then gave numerous examples of faith.  Based on these examples, Hebrews 12:1 exhorts the reader to “run the race marked out for us.”  This is possible because we are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses.” They are spectators at a sports event, watching present believers “run the race.” But more than that, they are also people who have already run the race and know what must be done in order to win the race.

Lay AsideSince we have this great crowd of witnesses, the writer urges his readers to run the race with perseverance. There are two ways in which the runner might not finish the race – by being hindered or entangled.  “Everything that hinders…” refers to weight or bulk. A runner in training would want to lose every extra pound that might hinder then from winning the race. Greek athletes competed naked, just as modern runners will wear very little clothing and shoes designed to be as lightweight as possible.

But the Christian is not simply training to compete, but is running the race already. If this is the case, there is an urgency to the writer’s encouragement to dispense with the things we do not need to run the race properly.

He calls the things which slow us down “the sin that so easily entangles.” Easily entangles is a single word and is only used here in the New Testament. The word has the sense of something which is tight or constricting. If the weight of life hindered us, sin can so entangle us that running the race is no longer possible. Think of a runner that instead of a 100 pound bag of potatoes has his shoes laces tied together.  They cannot walk, let alone run the race!

In order to run the race, the writer also tells his readers to “throw off” hindrances and sin. The word here is used most often for taking off one’s clothes, an apt metaphor here since runners will try to wear as little clothing as possible. The writer is saying if you are going to run the race, run it in the proper equipment.  Imagine that marathon runner dressed in the clothes used for Arctic exploration, a huge parka, heavy gloves, snow shoes, goggles, etc. He will not compete well because he is entangled with things that he does not need, he needs to throw all that stuff off and compete in running shorts. Anything that slows you down should be tossed.

The writer says that the race is “marked out for us.” This is not a sprint, this is a race that has a course marked out, a long race like a marathon. Sprinters, though very athletic, do not usually run in marathons.  There are too many differences between sprinting and marathons that people don’t usually excel at both. (Before I get hate mail from people who run in decathlons, I get it, work with my metaphor. Yes you are special.)

Finally, the writer tells us to run with perseverance. This fits the metaphor of a marathon better than a sprint.  A sprint is a short distance, and the runner gives it all he has, in 5 seconds it’s over. Not much perseverance. The marathon runner runs much slower, he is much more methodical about how he runs, pacing himself so he can finish the race.  As the race progresses, it takes determination to keep going.  Even the best runners have to be mentally fit to run the race all the way, they have to be running with the goal of finishing, and finishing requires perseverance.

If the Christian life is like competing in a marathon, what are other ways Hebrews 12 (or the whole book of Hebrews) exhorts the reader to “compete”?

56 thoughts on “Hebrews 12:1-3 – Running the Race

  1. I like the idea of competing towards a goal, but at the same time it is interesting that we are not “competing” against anyone. Jesus calls us to finish the race, to endure to the end, and that winning this race is the reward of salvation. I like the fact that there are not a certain amount of spaces, there isn’t just one winner. We are so individually different that God doesn’t look at who did what and who had more good acts during their lifetime. He looks at whether or not your heart was in it. I also like the idea of mental toughness and perseverance. Running the race hastily tells me that you are trying by your own power, but perseverance relies on God. Hebrews 12:14 tells us to strive for peace with everyone. This does not look after ourselves but looks to the needs of others. The race is not a selfish one, it does not look to finish first or best, it is looking around to see who else is struggling and to help them cross the finish line. Jobes refers to the cloud of witnesses as those who have run the race and finished already. This means that we have people who have been through the pain of this life and who can help us along. I think this is comforting because it shows that our end goal is possible and that we have role models that we can look up to.

  2. What really stands out to me in this chapter is verse 3, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” One of the many reasons Jesus came and lived an earthly and fully human life was to show us that we could achieve and persevere through it. He showed that humans really can resist the devil, and go through persecution and opposition. This verse has been a reliable source of encouragement for me so many times because it tells me that Jesus knows how I feel, but he endured so that I can endure as well. Jobes adds to this point by saying the necessity of the incarnation means that the Son had to experience all that it means to be a human being and yet not sin. He had to do this to prove the power we hold by being his children and having the Holy Spirit with us.

  3. In verse 7 of Hebrews 12, the author says, “endure hardship as discipline.” If we continue on with the marathon metaphor, during a race, your body gets weak, your muscles get sore and you want to stop. This is why people train months in advance for races, preparing the bodies for this kind of torture (yes running is evil!!). As you were saying above, we are already in this race,no time for preparations, we have to be ready to push on past the pains and struggles in the race we are on because we have a goal in mind, shout out to Jesus for that one. I have always found it easier when doing any sort of project or workout thingy, that picturing the end goal really makes you want to try harder to get to that end, because you know what is at stake and you have to reach the finish line to get that prize. In Matthew Jesus uses a metaphor of salvation being like a pearl of great price that a man would give everything that he owned to get his hands on that pearl. I think this is what we should be running our races like. Run it like everything depends on you getting to that finish line.

  4. I enjoy the way that these verses were unpacked to begin thinking about this. I also appreciate that it was related to me in a way that I could more understand what you were saying by relating the verses on the races to an actual race. I would have to say that in Hebrews the writer warns about sinning and allowing that to take over the readers lives. Also I feel as you said the runner has to be mentally fit and in our own Christian walks we should always be “competing” to be mentally fit with God. We need to always compete in our faith to be the best Christ-followers that we can be. We should always be working at the race of God to be the best that we always can be and steer away from all the things that the author of hebrews warns against in it.

  5. Hebrews and many other books in the Bible, specifically Paul’s epistles address themes of athleticism and our spiritual walk as Christians. Has you states above “this race is marked out for us”, Christ as a specific purpose and job for us. I feel that a lot of this can be linked back to each Christian has a specific job in the Body of Christ. I can do no one’s job better than they can and no one can do my job that Christ has for me than me, if I am fully dependent on Christ. Another well known passage that compares racing to the Christian life is 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, the verse talks about not aimlessly running the race and that while many will run the race not many will win the prize. I feel like 1 Corinthians 9:26 parallels well to the verses in Hebrews that mention running without any hindrance or being entangled. Everyday is not to be taken for granted and we must remained focused on the future not the present, this time on earth is short and we must use to the best of our ability. I participated in long distance running for six years, and while I never ran a marathon, I’ve running plenty of 5ks. My coach always said the first mile is easy because you are running on adrenaline and your excited for the race, the second mile is the most challenging when it comes to mental endurance and must be run with the heart, while the third mile is run with hope for finishing strong. This a lot like the Christian walk, when you first get saved you’re so excited and eager to do God’s work, but as time goes on sometimes things get harder and then we end up going through the motions or become discouraged, it’s important during this time that we fill ourselves with God’s word and surround ourselves with people that will uplift and encourage us. Finally as we age we are aware that death is imminent, but that also means that we are close to reaching our goal: eternity with Christ and the Great Cloud of Witnesses.

  6. The famous Hebrews 12 passage that talks about persevering is inspiration and true. We are called to compete spiritually and have enough stamina and endurance to get us through until the end in which we will be justly rewarded. Hebrews 10:35 also speaks of this when it states not throw away your confidence and to persevere to do the will of God (vv. 35-36). This is essential within Christian living. It’s easy to become discouraged and ashamed of one’s mistakes and sins. However, we are to have confidence in first, Christ and secondly, ourselves. This coincides with having great faith that God will provide and give you the strength to last until the end. Life is a race, not a sprint and it demands all of your attention, training, and passion. Without having all three of these, how are we supposed to last until the end and do so with a loving and satisfied heart? We cannot unless we remain in faith, put our trust in Jesus, and persevere until the end.

  7. This blog post was laid out really well and really describes what “throwing off” hindrances and sins really looks like. I believe that we are to run with perseverance the entire race, that it is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. There are a variety of different ways that Hebrews 12 talks about how the reader is to “compete”. One of these ways is in Hebrews 12:14. This verse talks about living in peace with not only those that you like, but rather to live in peace with everyone. When we “compete” to be in peace with everyone, there eliminates strife and envy in the world. Another important to thing to think about when you think about running this race is the great cloud of witnesses. You are not running this race alone, rather take encouragement in the fact that other people have and are running this race with you. These people are here to be a support system and helping you persevere when running the race marked out for you! In Hebrews 12:7 it also states that there will be hardship. God never promised life to be easy going all of the time, rather you will encounter hardship. During these times, we need to call and rely on God. We also need to remember that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

  8. One of my favorite points to make when I talk about this passage in Hebrews is where our stamina and endurance truly come from. Philippians 4:13 says that we can do all things THROUGH Christ who gives us strength. I am constantly reminding myself that regarding my own spiritual marathon, I should not rely on myself for strength and endurance, but rather rely on Christ alone.

  9. My question is why is the great cloud of witnesses important? Should we throw off hindrances for those around us, or should it be for our benefit, so that we might be able to better strive for a Christlike life. I understand that we tend to perform better when we are under the spotlight, and that our performance is the best when under scrutiny, like how proper a guy might act when meeting a girls parents for the first time. And yet I feel as though the great cloud of witnesses, while usually an initial motivator in why we throw off hindrances and the sin that entangles, I believe we should get to a point where we are doing it to help ourselves get closer to God.

    • I think it is a sports metaphor as I say in the blog. It is as if Christian life is a sports competition, in the stands are filled with people who’ve already competed, and finish the race. They are there cheering us on, encouraging us to finish the race well.

  10. I also like to think of this passage, as well as 1 Corinthians 9:24, as if it is a marathon. I often relate my human life as a marathon as well. This basically means that God has given me a certain amount of time on a line. My marathon is that line. There are multiple obstacles that get in the way such as struggles I have in regard to the Sermon on the Mount. We need the perseverance that God gives us to finish the race. The finish line can either be looked at as heaven or simply connectedness to God. The interesting thing about this race metaphor is that there is no one to “beat.” There is no clear winner or loser but the individual wins or loses (meaning they either enter the kingdom or they do not). In regard to your final question, I think that there are many examples in the New Testament that pushes the audience to strive towards God. The entire Bible could be seen as encouragement to “compete.” Hebrews 11 is a good example of motivation for me. Both Abraham and Sarah had faith in God’s promises and because they followed the marathon, they had a son. Then later we are reminded of the wandering Israelites who never saw the promise land because they chose not to follow Hebrews 12:1.

  11. One interesting part of the “race” mentioned is Hebrews is the rest of the Lord mentioned in Hebrews 4. A part of being effective in any race is knowing when to pick up and drop the pace. If you go full throttle the whole race, you are going to get worn out fast, and if you do not take breaks, eventually your body will force you to, and you might lose as a result. For marathons, it is good to know when to speed up and when to relax a little and rest your body, even if you’re still moving along the way.

    Hebrews 4 talks about a rest that is obtained through faith, and that those who do not believe will not receive the Lord’s rest. It is repeated multiple times that “they shall not enter my rest,” referring to those whose the Lord’s wrath has fallen upon. Hebrews suggests that by believing and being faithful in the Father, that there is a rest that comes with it, and that striving for the rest is important to keep from faltering. Rest is not something we often think about in positive terms when it comes to faith, and perhaps it is something we should think about more often.

  12. I connect with this topic because of the nature of competitiveness I have as an athlete, but it is weird to think that we are not actually competing against anyone in this situation. There aren’t a set number of spaces for salvation. The writer also tells us to run the race with perseverance which is fitting considering our faith is a marathon rather than a sprint. Hebrews 12: 1-3 encourages Christians to live their lives with patience and perseverance as they set aside the “weight” put before them. This passage made me consider what type of race that Jesus ran when he was on the earth as fully human. He had “weight”, but was also the finisher of our faith, the prophecies, and grace. In Him, we get the prize for finishing our race. Jesus had many trials that could have set him back such as suffering on the cross, but he endured it with patience. He is our ultimate example and we are called to be like Christ like Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us, “Therefore be imitators of God,…” In reference to the crowd of witnesses, Jobes wrote that they are individuals who have finished the race already and are there to support and encourage us through the journey (Jobes, 142). The fact that Jesus and the cloud of witnesses have finished the race shows that we all can if we show these traits of perseverance and patience.

  13. The Christian life being seen as a marathon is a great metaphor. Coincidentally this is one of the verse that has pushed me through some of the roughest situations in my life. Running with perseverance is something I have had to do my whole life. I think to any situation that has hindered me or caused me to sin, and i remember telling myself persevere because that is what Jesus did. I think another big part of this is the fixing your eyes on Jesus. When we run our race we tend to stumble looking from left to right, but it gets smoother most times when we focus on God and His Word which is Christ. When it does not get smoother we are pushed along by the cloud of witnesses, encouraged I would say. This is to surround ourselves with positive examples and memories of those before us. Being relational with other Christians to run this race is what we are called to do.

  14. I absolutely love the analogy of the Christian faith being seen as a marathon. As a distance runner, this verse has crossed my mind while running on more than one occasion. Verse 4 reads “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”. So many times we put ourselves into positions where we feel like the temptations and struggles that we face in our lives are too overwhelming for God. None of us have ever resisted sin and Satan’s lies to a point where we have shed blood like Christ did. Jesus shedding blood should be an encouragement to us to always keep going no matter the circumstance. 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind”. Life is a fight for joy and in order to compete we must have motivation. All the motivation in the world is verse 4, as we are called to remember Christ resisting sin to a point of shedding blood.

    • I agree with you on the analogy of our Christian faith as a daily marathon. I know this is from a different book in the Bible, but when I read the first couple of verses from Hebrews 12, especially where it said “run with the perseverance the race marked out for us”, this was the first thing that came to mind while reading this and to be quite honest it does make a lot of sense. I have Philippians 3:13-14 says that, “Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” When Hebrews was written, those people it was written for were facing persecution daily. Everywhere they turned, persecution followed them. This only caused those to feel almost tempted to turn away from their Christian faith. In our text, it suggested there was more than one specific event that would have caused any sport of temptation to turn from a Christian faith. Regardless, and this is also true for us Christians today, we cannot let ourselves be tempted by anything to the point where we’ll turn away from the faith. That is when we have to have the right motivation so we can finish the race and reach the goal that God has in store for us all.

  15. I definitely find it so true that the life of being a Christian is like a race. This passage of scripture really does illustrate it well, and tells the truth of how we need to be strong through the race and that we need to be able to keep glorifying God on a consistent basis, even when it’s not easy. The verse that sticks out to me the most is verse 3, which is that we need to remember what Jesus went through for us, and we need to remember the opposition that He faced so that we can continue to run that race and run it strongly.

  16. I myself feel convicted about running on a personal level. However, I believe that the metaphor of living our Christian lives as a race is… somewhat incorrect, by today’s standards.

    Most running events that I’m aware of are either in the spirit of competition or in the spirit of charity. While we as Christians should be charitable, it’s not quite the same. We do have a path mapped out for us — you could say God designed a good 5k for us each as individuals. We also should strive forward with perseverance. However, I don’t think the metaphor of a race works very well with the competitive aspect or the connotation of rushing to one point or another. God coasts us to where he wants us to be… if we’re lucky.

    Not to say, of course, that the writer of Hebrews 12 is wrong. I just find the metaphor strange. Tell me to go on a scavenger hunt with a map God drew up, or something.

  17. Hebrews 12:1 has been a verse that has been used to push many athletes to compete in the sport God has gifted them to play. Being a part of a collegiate sports team has help me realize that it is not so much about winning, but is more about finishing the “race” and doing it in an honoring way that pleases God. I also view this verse as the race of life, life shouldn’t be sprinted through, but rather paced and ran with endurance. The race that we are running is our Christian life, in verse 2 we look to Jesus when we are running the race, he is our #1 fan and he is going to push us to reach that finish line and he is going to be there to congratulate us. I believe that Philippians 4:13 can be another verse that pushes Christians to their full potential, it is a sense of I can run this race because I know Christ is on my side.

  18. Hebrews 12:5 states that we are not be weary when reproved by the Lord. This passage continues on to say in verse seven that we as Christians are to endure discipline. I believe this passage is saying that Christians should not become weary because they have been disciplined by the Lord. A child who endures discipline learns and grows from the experience. However, a child who is not disciplined becomes a horrible person when they grow up. If Christians last through their disciplines, they will grow and become better Christians and people because of it. Being disciplined also requires a sense of patience. Imagine a thirteen year old girl who has been grounded. He phone has been taken away for *gasp* a whole three days! This girl will most likely not wait patiently for her phone to be returned to her. She will probably try to convince her parents to shorten the amount of time she must “suffer” and demand that her phone back. After her request and demands are denied, she will scream, yell and be very angry with her parents. She will say that this is unfair. This girl may even ask every hour, “can I have my phone back now?”. Often, Christians are like this thirteen year old girl. We complain, groan and tell God that he is being unfair. However, none of this is the proper response. Christians should wait patiently through discipline and thank God for loving them enough to discipline them in the first place. This would allow the punished child to learn their lesson quicker and grow more easily. This is why the author of Hebrews reminds the readers that they should endure punishment patiently.

  19. Being an athlete I can relate to what was said in Hebrews 12. The analogy that the Christian faith should be run like a marathon is great! When Hebrews 12:1 stated that we have witnesses watching us it makes it seem like we have spectators just as you stated in your blog post. And just like any race, there are going to be factors that slow us down or get in our way. This is where this so-called “weight” comes into play, which is the sin that we can become in entangled in. But we must cast that aside. I know when I’m in a basketball game there are things I have cast aside and not pay attention to like the crowd and the other team’s bench. I have got so good at ignoring those things it just feels like a train going by as I am playing. Also, this race that we are running could be seen as a test or a trial. Jobes states in her book that, ” James understands the true goal of such trials to be perseverance, a theme that is common to the General Epistles” (Jobes, 167). Perseverance is something that we as Christians all need to have because we use it to reach spiritual maturity. Also, we must persevere through all the temptations that are put before us and ignore them. So that one day we may reach Heaven! Hebrews 12:7 states, “It is for discipline that you have to endure.” Being athlete having discipline and perseverance are some of biggest things you need to have to compete and win games. Because in games we are going to get “weighed” down by things just like in this race we are running for Christ. But through discipline and perseverance, we can overcome anything!

    • It is pretty cool that we, as athletes, can relate to this analogy in Hebrews 12. Since writing my reflection on this post last week, it gave me a new perspective on looking at how spectators at athletic events correlate with spectators on our spiritual journey. I have a greater sense of appreciation for mentors and prayer partners as well as thinking about the people in Heaven cheering me on as an encouragement to push through the hard times. There are so many qualities that the Bible talks about such as perseverance, strength, and courage that pertain to athletes. 2 Timothy 4:7 and 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27 are other verses that I have found to be an encouragement through hard times that I think would be an encouragement to you, Adam! You did a great job relating this passage and message to basketball.

  20. I agree with Adam here, being an athlete has correlation to this post. The act of perseverance, the act of staying the course, the act of preparation is what makes a great athlete. So like Hebrews 12 states, in order to be active in faith and to uphold the best acts of being a Christian we must understand the race is going now and will continue to go. We need to throw away sin that hinders us from completing the race. We need to understand perseverance (Hebrews 12:1) and that we may struggle at times. However, we know God is an understanding God and one who will not leave us. One the other hand, when thinking of the book of Hebrews as a whole i got to thinking about Hebrews 3:12-13 and how in encourages us to compete for one another. These verses state, “take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin”. I like this idea that everyone is accountable. Christians should stay away from judgement of others. Rather we should “compete” for one another. Helping others throw away their sin that hinders their faith.

  21. I think that Adam makes a good point: this is a very relatable metaphor used in Hebrews. Athletes and marathon runners especially can relate to it, but we all, even those who aren’t athletes, can understand why you would want to be well prepared for a race of any kind. I think that the section speaking on taking off unnecessary weight, the metaphorical parka of sin. I think that having the right equipment for the race is a two step process. First, taking off the things that will weight us down for the race. These things are sin, harmful people, temptations, etc. But secondly, there is the process of making sure you do have the right things. If you don’t have the proper equipment, it won’t be long until you’re looking back at the sin you used to love for help. To run the long race, you’ll need water, proper shoes, cool clothing. These items all being a metaphor for the spiritual disciplines we need in our relationship with God to make sure we make it to the end of the race. Examples of these would be prayer, fasting, celebration, meditation, etc. These are the things that will equip us to run the long race.

  22. As previously mentioned, the first three verses in Hebrew encourage the reader to persevere in their walk with Christ. According to Jobes, the phrase “cloud of witnesses” in verse one actually refers to a literal group of spectators watching. Being spurred on by the Old Testament heroes who had gone before us, we are now running the race ourselves. (Jobes, Pg. 142) The author of Hebrews writes in the same passage that they will not give up during the race if they keep in mind Christ’s sacrifice. (12:3) When “discipline” is mentioned in verse seven, the first image that pops into my mind is that of working out. It takes discipline to put your body through pain in order for it to become healthier and fit. Verse eleven seems to support this metaphor! However, “discipline” is used as another word for “punishment”. Verse six acknowledges the fact that God still punishes those He loves in order that they may eventually reap a “peaceful harvest”. (12:11) This harvest can only be gathered if they endure this manner of training. The final two verses in this passage (12-13) bring to mind weight lifting or tug of war. The verses seem to point to believers persevering in their own walk in order for those watching to be encouraged to do the same. Endurance is what distinguishes a sprinter from a marathon runner.

  23. I really appreciate the metaphor of “throwing off hindrances” simply because it is such an easy concept to grasp but it is so hard to do. Sometimes the biggest hindrances that we need to get rid of are the things that we love the most. It comes down to…how badly do we want to finish the race well.

  24. This post added some great new perspective and meaning to the way in which I have typically read Hebrews 12:1-3. In verse 1, the phrase, “great cloud of witnesses” is used. In the past, I have read and interpreted this as describing a large crowd of people or the people by which we are surrounded in our day-to-day lives. The perspective you have offered is quite different. Instead of being mere bystanders, these are people who have already “ran the race” and are there to support and encourage us. In a way, it is as though these spectators are the alumni that have passed the torch to the next generation. This puts slightly more pressure on the runner. Not only are there people watching you live your life that are simply present, but there are also those who have accomplished your task and have entrusted you to also accomplish it. This is not necessarily negative pressure but pressure that encourages one to push harder and have perseverance.

    As believers, I feel we have a responsibility to not only live life in a way that encourages and ministers to non-believers but also in a way that brings honor and dignity to the fellow believers that came before us, are with us currently, and are to come. As Christians, we are ambassadors for the kingdom of God and must live in a way representative of that duty.

    Understanding and recognizing our duty as Christians makes it then necessary to accomplish part two of verse 1. It gives us the strength needed to cast off the things in our lives that are perhaps hindering our ability to run the race as we ought. The support from those that have gone before us also helps us to accomplish this as, at least for me, it gives me an extra spring in my step knowing there are those who have already achieved the goal there supporting me as I pursue it.

  25. I still remembered that day when I was at IYF Summer Camp in New York, as a part of the camp activities everyone were told to partakes in a 5k marathon, and the purpose of the races was to “accepting challenges in life in order to excel”. There were approximately 300 people including men and women. It was in the day of a hot summer around 82′ degrees were everyones seem disourages already by it. But one thing that stimulate to be perseverance in the race was the prospect of achieving the rewards in the end. Before the race begin, one of the staff reminded us to throw off any kinds of materials that could hindrance in the process. As soon as the race begin I was so energize and so compel that I used all my physical abilities to sprints as fast as I can in the midst of a cloud of witnesses. But later in the process, I became discourage, exhausted whereas negative thoughts were circulating in my head telling me to take a break, it’s just a race, the reward isn’t that precious at all, in facts you stills have 3k to go! My point is that there were many hindrance along the race and unless we have the realisation, hope and a confident expectation in achieivng the rewards there is a possiblity to withdraw oneself from the race. The writer of Hebrew was encouraging his reader in order to finished the race, comfort one another, stop keep on sinning that entangle you from the race, grow in maturity, run with perserverance and endurace because what we are experiencing now is nothing compares to the hope (reward) that await us. The Christian life is like a ‘marathon race’, we are on a journey to pilgrims and along in the process we will experience hardship, insults and persecution indeed. Therefore, in order to preserve despite of obstacles, it’s crucial that we have fellowship with one another, prayer, meditation, devotion and encouraging one another in time of sorrow and despair.

  26. The comparison of a Christian’s journey in their faith to a marathon is perfect. Being an athlete all my life I have definitely heard Hebrews 12:1-3 many times. Either before a game, team devotions, and so on. These verses are very common when it comes to athletic events but for good reason. I find it interesting that yet today this analogy is understood in the same context. These verses remind the reader to reflect on their own spiritual relationship. Like Jobes states, “Hebrews is an exhortation to Christian believers to pay attention to their own Spiritual state.” (141). Hebrews is a book in which Christians can reflect upon in their own “race”. Another verse in Hebrews that has stuck out to me as being competition related would be 12:11, “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.” I view this as a competition within oneself. This can be related to athletic events, homework, and of course our spiritual journey with God. An athlete must train and condition in order to be successful. This training can be time consuming, exhausting, and at time unbearable. However, the results of training harder than the opponent is winning. Winning makes all the training worth it. Putting in the time and effort into studying for a test or spending countless hours on a research paper will lead to good grades. Just like being disciplined in our day to day lives proves to have success, being disciplined in our relationship with God with prove to do the same. When we find discipline within ourselves to take time and strengthen our relationship with God, we will find our outcome to be righteous.

  27. TB Joshua stated on his post that “the beginning of the race does not determine the winner; only Jesus can take you to the end.” I thought this was an interesting point of view about Christians running a race with perseverance and endurance. Not by physical strength, but in spiritual strength as well. I think for this chapter, we need to see where we are in life both spiritually and physical, and to see where we stand in faith. Extra baggage may be from past mistakes or consequences, or problems we have not face to deal with that causes hinderance or entanglements in our walk with Christ. the race can determine the final goal which is eternal life with Christ Jesus, but not all races are the same. The race is design for that certain individual with his or her relationship with Jesus. It is only through Him are we going to be able to finish with victory and glory.

  28. Upon reading this blog post, a few things stuck out to me primarily. When thinking about the race marked out for us, it is not a blind path that we are supposed to stumble upon. It is a race that is marked out clear for us. I’ve done a few team builders in my life that one person has to complete an obstacle course or a task and is blind-folded and someone else is there to lead them. Someone that has never seen or completed the obstacle course before. Too often I think about running the race in this way. The problem with this mindset is the fact that we are not alone. We have a great cloud of witnesses, who have already completed the race.
    Hebrews is quite an encouragement to us if we sit back and listen. It is telling us that yes, there will be obstacles in this race, it is not a breeze with an easy straight path. It is probably going to be more obstacles than not. In Hebrews 12:1, we see this as it mentions sin entangling us. Entangling is an interesting word to use here. It does not just mean a quick banana peel like Mario Cart that makes you stop a second. It is like a vine that catches around our leg and gives in a little just to pull tighter. Sin does that, we think we make a little progress, but it easily makes us take 2 steps back. Directly after that, Hebrews mentions that we should run the race with patient endurance. Meaning that faster is not always better, despite what Fast and Furious may think. We are challenged to go slow, take the time to smell the roses and grow from the experience. I believe it is important to also note that all races are going to be different. They all have the same purpose and intent, but they will not all look the same. This is part of our uniqueness as human beings. When I was in middle school my favorite thing to do subconsciously was to compare myself, my race to the people around me. First of all, it never got me ahead, it always pushed me back, because I was not paying attention to my unique race. We have to understand that race has the same goal, but not the same path. Some will be running a marathon, others will get 2 marathons, some only make it a mile. God uses each of those raises for His amazing will.

  29. I believe the example of running a race in connection to having faith in God, or one’s faith walk with God, is an incredible example. It carries multiple meaningful connections and similarities that can be related to. Though not all Christians are marathon-runners, Olympic athletes, or habitual runners, everyone can relate to the feeling of being tired from running at some point in their life. They can relate to the feelings of running a race; whether these feelings relay back to times on the elementary school playground, in the backyard, or in a race for a prize, I feel as if everyone can relate to running a race. It is important that literary examples in the Bible are examples that people of all ages, races, and hobbies can relate to. This is important because the Bible is a book that has stretched across generations and nations. It cannot include examples that half of the audience will not understand or relate to. So, in that note, the author of Hebrews does an excellent job of incorporating relatable examples into the text.

    Furthermore, I agree with the premise that running a race is similar to one’s faith walk with God. When running a race, there is an end goal in mind. When walking in faith with God, the end goal is to experience eternal life in God’s kingdom. Also, when running a race, preparation is key. When one walks in faith with God, they must prepare each day to grow closer to Him on that day. When in a race, one goes through the ups and downs that one goes through in their faith walk. Essentially, I am saying that this example is an excellent example.

    When it comes to the idea that sin entangles, one must recognize the power of sin. Like it says in your post, the power of sin causes tangled shoelaces that prevent us from running the race of faith. This is why it is so important to focus on our sins, acknowledge them, fix them, and ask God for forgiveness from these sins. This directly relates to the next point of throwing off our sin or any hindrances in the way of our faith walk. This is where hobbies and worldly things can come into play. For me, basketball can be one of these hindrances in my faith walk. Basketball in itself is a good thing. It is not sinful to love basketball or to play basketball. But it can become a hindrance to my faith walk with God if basketball becomes a priority over my faith. The writer of Hebrews calls us to remove and avoid these hindrances so that we can run the race at the best of our ability.

    According to Sweeney (2016), Hebrews 12:1-3 calls Christians and believers to focus on endurance and perseverance when it comes to running this race that we are called out to run (p. n.d.). Hebrews 12 claims that focusing on Jesus will motivate us in our race. Like the finish line motivates marathon runners, we are to turn to God for motivation in this importance and undeniable race of faith.

    Sweeney, J. P. (2016). “Hebrews.” John D. Barry et al. The Lexham Bible Dictionary.

  30. The mental image that Hebrews twelve paints for us is both vivid and powerful. The image of the christian striving to complete a race in the sight of the crowds in a stadium is a vivid metaphor for striving for completion in the faith. However I feel the stronger image given to us by Hebrews 12:1-3 is the christian striving to complete the race looking ahead to Jesus who has already crossed the finish line showing us that it can be done. In verse one we are told to run with perseverance while verses two and three shows us how Christ has already persevered ahead of us. I feel that the temptation here is strong to imagine ourselves as soon to be victorious athletes ready to cross the finish line and be the stars of the hour, when really we should be looking to Jesus as an example and an encouragement.

  31. I found this post to be interesting. When you talk about believers are people who have already run the race and know what must be done in order to win the race, I think it’s it a good way to put our faith into perspective. People who are born and raised as Christians know what they are going up against (people who have already run the race, and people who are new believers are just learning what the “race” is all about. The obstacles that come along the way are all the times Satan tries to get us off track, and encourages us to sin. In order to win the race we need to get over those obstacles and ignore what Satan is trying to tell us. The only thing we have standing in our way is Satan and the obstacles he tries to throw at us. I also think that the race to the finish isn’t something that we need to try to “Win”, it is our job to help those that are in trouble in their race along the way and to steer them into the right direction. Hebrews 6:10 says “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them”.

  32. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” Hebrew 12:7 Another thing we should compete in, is endurance. That is something that is not practiced very often. I think that seeing God as our father is also not practiced often. I think we know that he can be viewed as that, but it is not practiced. I believe everything we do has consequences and that is the discipline that the Lord has for us. That is when we seek God the least, we see it in the people of Israel. They wanted to seek him and listen to him, yet they failed “they simply represent the failure of all human beings” (ebook). Jobes, mentions the failure of Israel and how it continues today. The path is set out for us, it just the actions of taking that path or not.

  33. The comparison of a Christian’s journey in their faith to a marathon is perfect. Being an sports person, soccer player all my life I have definitely heard Hebrews 12:1-3 many times. I Led team devotions, and this was one of the things we talked about more, endurance and finishing the race. These verses are very common when it comes to athletic events but for good reason. I find it interesting that yet today this analogy is understood in the same context. These verses remind the reader to reflect on their own spiritual relationship. Jobes states, “Hebrews is an exhortation to Christian believers to pay attention to their own Spiritual state.” (141). Hebrews is a book in the bible that one ca reflect on their own journey (race) of salvation. Verse 11 of Hebrews is another one that relates to competition as it talks about training. A Christian life is not training, it’s a race and Hebrews as a whole spends time explaining how we can run the race with endurance because Christ did show us how we must live when He walked on earth as fully human.

  34. While I cannot personally relate to the athletic imagery presented in Hebrews 12, there is not an athletic bone in my body, I have watched my kids compete in different sports throughout their school years. The one thing that really resonates in this passage to me is the emphasis on perseverance. I remember watching one of my girls (who has more of her mother’s athletic abilities) decide she was going to run cross country. In my mind I was thinking “are you crazy?”, but of course I could not say that out loud! Watching her run in meets week after week, always in the back of the pack, was so hard as a mom. But she was committed and persevered in each meet. She may not have set any records, but she was committed to completing each race. That perseverance was something to be admired and celebrated.

    I think this same idea of perseverance is so fitting for our Christian lives as well. I really liked the little excerpt Jobes (2011, p. 133) wrote on this topic, stating that while she has never physically suffered for her faith, there are times when she, and all believers, will have challenges. This struggle can come in so many forms, from personal difficulties like illness, death, and relationships, to the struggle of disillusionment with one’s faith or church. This was a reminder to me that there will be moments when I am faced with struggles which could easily hinder or disrupt my walk with God. In those times, it would be so easy to just throw in the towel and quit, as I am sure there were times my daughter wanted to quit as she was running those hilly courses. However, remaining disciplined and focused on the finish line (my continually growing relationship with Christ) needs to be the thing that keeps me going, one step at a time. I like how Hebrews 12:11 illustrates how this deliberate, disciplined perseverance may not feel good at times, but will be wonderful in the end. “For the moment all disciple seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”. (The ESV Study Bible, 2008).

    Jobes, K.H. (2011). Letters to the Church. Zondervan.
    The ESV Study Bible (2008). Crossway Bibles.

  35. Jobes says that “if the major theme of the book of Hebrews concerning soteriology could be summed up in one statement, it would have to include the idea that one’s initial faith in Jesus Christ for the purification of sins must be the starting point of a lifelong commitment…” (p. 132). In other words, throughout Hebrews the author uses the theme of perseverance to explain to his readers how they should live out their faith. One of the first places we see this is in 3:6 where the author says, “…And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.” This verse is saying that in order for us to remain part of God’s house, or His church, we must “hold fast” to the faith. And just a few verses later, in 3:12, the author gives his readers a warning of what will happen if they do not hold fast to their faith. He says, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” This again emphasizes the idea of perseverance. One cannot simply claim they are Christian and then turn away from the faith; they must remain faithful throughout the rest of their lives. He uses many verses throughout as warnings like this one, to explain to his readers what exactly will happen if they do not persevere in faith.

    Overall, the author uses multiple phrases throughout the book to represent this idea of perseverance, such as “hold fast” (3:6; 10:23), “hold our original confidence” (3:14), “strive” (4:11), “through faith and patience” (6:12), and “endurance” (10:36; 12:1), according to the ESVSB. All of these are used to stress the idea that as Christians, we must persevere in our faith and continuously be competing.

  36. I love these verses because I think they are very relatable and understandable for all believers at any stage in their Walk. Things that slow us down I think of as distractions all around us; normal life things like school and work, but also distractions and the voice and opinions of the world rather than of God. Throw off hinderances is to get rid of those distractions; like people in your life that are causing you to stumble or are not building you up to be a better person or a better apprentice of Jesus. Run the race marked out is following the path God has for us, being obedient to his callings, and patient with his “nos” or “not yets”, it is taking a step of faith and trusting that He will guide those steps. It is a slow, at times mundane, at times hard and unbearable walk. Run with perseverance; practice the spiritual disciplines and have grace for yourself when you mess up. We are continually growing and learning, and God as the Potter is continually forming and molding us, breaking us back down and carving us into something new. It is the verses after these that are really encouraging to all believers. “It is for discipline that you have to endure”; discipline is something we must endure; for one, it shows us much God loves us as his children, what Father would not discipline his child? Being disciplined is not meant to be easy or painless. “Therefore, lift your drooping heads and strengthen your weak knees…”(12:12), sometimes enduring discipline and the hardships feels exactly like this! Not only are we to compete, but there is a further expectation for believers to live in peace and be holy. This is being perfected in faith as Hebrews 10:14 says; not being perfect because no one is perfect but Jesus, but perfection here is related to holiness, and it is by Christ’s perfect sacrifices that we are not only saves but made holy (Jobes).

  37. Another time the author of Hebrews exhorts the reader to compete is to show “earnestness” “so that you may not be sluggish” (Heb. 6:11-12). Two aspects of this include zeal and focus. When I read “earnestness”, I think of not only a determination but also a passion for the thing that is being done. Right before these verses, the author mentions the work and love that the readers have been showing. This indicates that to be earnest in the faith, a person does not just do all the things, but has a heart of love for what is being done. To translate this to marathon language, a more effective runner will not only put in the work of running but have a passion for it as well. The second aspect is focus. Jobes says that the readers of Hebrews “need to avoid spiritual laziness and complacency by persevering in their spiritual growth” (2011, p. 136). The reason I call this focus is because if we know truly what race we are running and what we need to do, there is no room for laziness or complacency. Jobes reminds us that “stay[ing] in a spiritually immature state under the delusion that it is okay to sin is like walking backward in the dark toward the cliff of apostasy” (2011, p. 141). In a marathon, this could mean walking when we could be running as far as laziness, or it could mean not caring about the course and going your own way. Obviously, you would not finish the race very well and you even run the chance of forfeiting the entire thing. So, two other aspects to consider as ways of exhorting the readers is to have zeal and stay focused.

  38. I really like these verses as they are used a lot throughout life whether someone is going through a battle or if someone just needs encouragement to keep on going. Not only do these verses encourage us in our faith walk but a lot of times I have heard these verses used for devotionals for sporting events. In the book we are reading for class by Karen Jobes, it talks about her personal walk with Christ and how life always brings us new challenges and that life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. All of these challenges that life throws at us are all part of God’s plan and it helps us persevere through life’s challenges but also tests our faith. The author of Hebrews encourages us to get rid of all the things that are weighing us down to perform or do our best. In Hebrews 12 it also talks about hardship could be discipline, since we are God’s children, we need to be disciplined to be able to learn from mistakes and also to help strengthen us. As Hebrews 12 goes on it talks about the mountain of fear and the mountain of joy. When you face trials those require you to compete either willing to stay strong and keep pushing through or you can give up. Every day you compete against a challenge or obstacle.

  39. Hebrews 12:1-3 is one of the most well-known principles that people follow in the Bible and reference. In a Christian high school, as a member of the track team, this verse was often taken very literally and was repeated frequently when we as a team had lazy days. These verses talk so deeply on staying in the faith and not setting off on other paths or lifestyles. It is prompting and challenging each of us to continue on in our faith even when it gets hard. Author Karen Jobes quotes, “believers are called to nothing less than living with eyes fixed on Christ from conversions to death.” This goes along with verses 1-3 because it is another reference stating how we as believers need to have our eyes only on Christ and not give up or give into other temptations in life. Another place in Hebrews 12 that is a challenge is Hebrews 12:3-17. These verses talk about not growing weary in your faith. This is another challenge to believers because often times hardships in life come and can shake a person’s faith for the worse or the better. There are plenty of times where the author of Hebrews challenges the faith of believers in his writings.

  40. a lot of believers have struggles when it comes to running the race. some examples are like doubt, lying, cheating, porn, adultery, disobedience, etc. these verses can both help us to see that there are others who have overcome similar struggles and how to give our burdens to Christ. the things that can hinder us from running the race with perseverance is sin. sin can be anything big or small that breaks any of God’s commands for us. i like the metaphor used here when talking about the man in the heavy clothing. he cannot compete because he will be slow compared to the other competitors that have minimal clothing on and lightweight shoes. the heavy clothes are the things that hold us back from participating in the race correctly. also, to note that this race is not like a 100-meter dash to the finish like. this race is like a marathon, were if we try to do it as fast as possible, we will get tired quickly. this marathon is to represent our life. we do not need to rush in and try to do everything all at once. instead, we can pace ourselves and have endurance to keep running this race. so, what do we do with our burdens? we give them up to Christ. we take up His burden, which is light, so that we can share others along the way that they can trade their burdens as well. with doing these two things while running the race, we can all finish it with perseverance and have God say to us “well done, good and faithful servant.”

  41. I really liked the analogy that Professor Long uses. As Christians we are running a race. How disciplined are you as a Christian to stick to faith? What may hinder you and set you away from God? It is important to think about these things that may cause conflict. You are in this race, chasing the winning price of afterlife with the Lord. Your salvation or coming to Jesus is just the first step or start to it. You have so many people cheering you on which could be considered as your church. Long states “If the weight of life hindered us, sin can so entangle us that running the race is no longer possible.” (Long, 2018) We must be able to even be in the race for God. Make sure that you are properly equipped to be chasing God. Limit the baggage and sin in your life. Things that would be baggage would be anything that limits you from your relationship with God. Anything that sets you apart from Him. It is also important to remember that this is not a fast race. You have your whole life ahead of you working on this race. Do not rush it. We cannot rush our relationships with God. It must be genuine, natural, and honest. Be prepared to run a lifelong race. We are constantly in this race because we will never know God fully. We never will hit that finish line until death comes. Pace yourself for what is coming. I think that it is crucial to understand that we are not competing against anyone else, but in our own race. We must not compare ourselves to others or what our relationship with Christ looks like. Our reward in the end is salvation, as long as we maintain our place in the race. We are not just running a race for ourselves. Help others along the way in their race.

  42. I chose to pick and comment on this particular blog post because, as a runner, I can relate to the example of comparing the faith to running a race. I have read or heard Hebrews 12:1 numerous of times. However, Long mentioned a few points that gave me a new perspective on this verse of “running the race marked out for us”. One, the portion of the verse that talks about the “great cloud of witnesses”, I always took to be the people in heaven. However, it is difficult to wrap my head around what this exactly means like do they really look down from heaven and know my life? But asides from that, Long mentioned that these people – the saints- were those who have “already run the race and know what must be done”. I had never thought that they weren’t just merely spectators but veterans! Second, another point that struck me was how “fixing your eyes on Jesus” (12:2), is what you do with the finish line or with your coach, which Jesus is both in this case. Like a coach, Jesus disciplines me in this race of life. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children” (12:7) or “If you are not discipled – and everyone undergoes discipline- then you are not legitimate” (12:8). Just like in a race a coach cheers you on but also makes you undergo exhausting, disciplined, rigorous training, as does Jesus. Yet, although “no disciple seems pleasant at the time, but painful: (12:11), we must continue to fix our eyes on Jesus for the end of the glorious race.

  43. It is very encouraging to know and understand that there is a “great cloud of witnesses” waiting and cheering us on. These witnesses ran the race, got through life, and are now witnesses to those trying to live a biblical and faithful life in Christ (Long, 2018). If Hebrews 12:1 exhorts that we are to, “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” then that shows the readers that we are to persevere in our lives and stand for living the way Jesus calls us to live. And that calling is in holiness (Jobes, 2011). This holiness is different than the lives that society or others would understand or live out. It is the livelihood of Christ and the way he was made perfect during his life on Earth (Jobes, 2011). Since Hebrews focuses so heavily on Christ’s humanity, we can establish what this race looks like within the example of Christ. We see that in order to run the race, we need to get rid of the baggage or the sin, “that so easily entangles us” (Heb. 12:1). This doesn’t mean that we need to become perfect; it’s impossible for mankind to do anything perfectly or to completely become sinless. Only Jesus holds that merit. However, it does mean that we need to look into ourselves and identify our sins and persevere through them so that we can meet Christ where we are at. When we do this we allow ourselves to live and run the race that has been paved for us by God (Long, 2018). However, no matter how difficult it gets, there is a reminder that those before us have been able to run the same race we are trying to run now. This race is long, and it takes endurance and perseverance (Long, 2018). Devoting everything to the plan that God has for our lives and “throwing off hindrances and sin” is the way that Hebrews expresses holy living in Christianity. Therefore, we must take Christ’s example and the example of those before us who are now witnesses and run the race of life that God has planned out for us.

  44. I think using this analogy and breaking down “running the race” of faith is very interesting. The idea that sin isn’t the only thing hindering us and there is more to let go of. I have run many races before so the analogy makes sense to me and I can see the application play out in my life. When looking at our faith as a run, rather than a walk as many refer to it as, I think it gives us a better picture and understanding of the things we go through.

    Jobes talks about perseverance, in chapter four of her book Letters to the Church, she shares, “… I realize that the various seasons of life as we age bring new challenges to the faith” (p.133). Jobes goes on to share further about the importance of persevering through those challenges as stated in the book of Hebrews.

    One thing that is interesting about the question presented is, are we called to compete to win the race, or just to run the race marked out for us? Are we striving to finish or abiding in following the path laid out before us?

  45. When the author of Hebrews used this analogy to describe our faith journey as Christians, it gave me some sort of comfort and encouragement. As we move through life as believers there will be things in life that are going to hinder our spiritual life while sin is creeping through the back door not too far behind it. But that is if only we allow these things into our perspective of how life is supposed to be. This analogy is describing exactly what our prime goal should be, that is to fix our eyes on Jesus the one who gave it all and is a perfect example of faith. The last blog post we discussed comparing our suffrage to Christ’s though very different. We can appreciate the fact that He endured much in this life including bearing the weight of our sin so that we can bask in the glory of the Lord. Hebrews 12 can be interpreted many different ways depending on where an individual is in their spiritual lives; personally, I think that here the author is telling us not to worry about what may come to hinder us, that we should throw it aside and focus on being in Him. Looking back in Matthew 14:22-33, Peter fixed His eyes on Jesus and was able to walk on the water forgetting everything around him, but when Peter started to panic and took his eyes off Christ he began to sink and fear creep in. When we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will not grow weary better, yet we will strengthen our spiritual lives by pressing on to win the race.

  46. Having been an athlete myself, I find this verse very interesting. The writer of Hebrews has just finished the “faith chapter” which includes what some might call a faith hall of fame. It lists many names of people from the Old Testament who were examples in their faith. Then chapter 12 begins with an exhortation to run the race ourselves. It seems to have this aspect to it that if we run the race with perseverance, we too can make it into the hall of fame with all the other heroes of the faith. I like how the blog points out that the great cloud of witnesses are not just spectators who are watching us run but have completed the race themselves. They know the struggles that will be encountered and what it takes to overcome them. The author of Hebrews encourages those currently running the race to throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. We are in the middle of the race, we must make sure we are not carrying weight we do not need to and that we have the proper equipment for the race. This reminds me of a sermon I once heard about the armor of God. To conclude his message, the pastor informed us that the worst time to put your armor on is during the battle. While this does not directly apply to this passage in Hebrews since we cannot go back and restart the race having gotten rid of all our hindrances, we can determine to throw off what is hindering us and try not to pick up any more hindrances during the course of the race. It is the last part of the exhortation that I particularly like, to run with perseverance. The race is long and hard, it takes determination to keep going. As an athlete, my favorite events involved long-distance, because while I was not particularly fast, I could keep going for a very long time. But here’s what always amazed me the most, no matter how tired I was from the rest of the race when I got on the homestretch – when I could see that finish line, and it was just within reach, I found new energy. I knew I would want to say that I did the best that I possibly could, so I would push through to the end with every ounce of energy left in me. I want to run the Christian race with determination to keep going, but more importantly, I want to run it so that when I reach the end I can say I gave everything that I had. When it feels like I can’t go any further, I want to see the goal and find new energy.

  47. I love how the author of Hebrews used the example of running the race for faith. These verses have been of encouragement for me in different seasons of my life. I personally have not ran a race but I can imagine that it is not easy. But I know that if a runner runs with a good mindset they will achieve their goal to the finish line. We can apply that concept of running a race to other aspects of our Christian Life. For example our Christian disciplines. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplines by their father? (Hebrews 12:7).” I often times struggle with the setting time to read my Bible. I can apply the concept of running the race to this discipline. The finish line for me can be having a better relationship with God by reading His Scripture. Obviously, a race can not be achieved without practice. For practicing, I can read for a set amount of time each day. I love that we can apply the example of running the race with perseverance to any aspect of our lives.

  48. This is a very interesting blog post and I really like how the analogy of running the race was applied to living the Christian life, more important what stook out to me the most from reading all the analogies was the one where you stated, “This is not a sprint, this is a race that has a course marked out, a long race like a marathon” (P.Long). This was eye opening because it made me realize that we are running a race of life that is set up by God. God is all knowing, and He has set a course that will have a unique and different challenge for each and every participant no matter how much has been “thrown away” or what has “entangled” someone, God will make life very challenging; but He does it to make us stronger in our own unique way. Another key thing that stood out to me was the beginning of the blog post talking about the great cloud of witnesses. These witnesses are watching our every move and that is a great reason for us to run the race and win it so that we can look up to them for we have made them proud. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). I really like this verse from Hebrews because it means that we are running a race with a crowd cheering us on; moreover, we are running a race being watched by a crowd that has already won the race. Thus, to win this race we need to do what other victors before us “lay aside every weight, and sin” as well as be a determined and sportsman-like precipitant along the way.

  49. I like that this passage compares the Christian life to running. It is interesting to think of it compared to a support. We often think of sports as challenging, competitive, entertaining, time consuming, and more. It takes hours to perfect a sport, or to be able to compete at a certain level. Running is so much different than other sports though. Although there can be teams in running (like relays), running is a completely individual sport. You don’t have a team around you to pick up the slack if you are having an off day. Your team is there, but they are in the stands, or acting as bystanders while you race. Running is one of the most mentally challenging sports because while you are running against others, you are mainly battling your own mentality. You have to keep your pace, hold your form, push through everything within you telling your body to rest or slow down. I think the mental aspect of running is what makes this passage so powerful, because it is also a mental challenge to stay on the right path with faith. We have to constantly battle temptation and the “entanglements” of life. God sometimes gives hard battles to us but He always gives us resources to help fight through those battles. In this mental battle of the marathon, we have encouragement coming from those watching who can shout advice or support to us to help us stay focused and remember what we are striving for.

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