If I love something, I love it. I adore it. It’s the bomb-dot-com, and you’d be hard pressed to find something that tops it.
Just to give you an idea, these are a few of my favorite things:
- Vanilla ice cream cones
- Lazy lake days at my family’s cottage
- Cozy Sunday afternoon naps
- Coffee—dark roast, cream, no sugar (I’m drinking a cup now!)
- Books, books, and more books
- Playing Mario Kart with my fiancé
- My grandma’s English toffee
- Browsing organic grocery stores with my best friend
- Long talks at small coffee shops
I love that God has given me a passionate heart, a heart that often says, “I love this. I’m all in. I’m giving this everything I’ve got.” It’s almost as if I have an indescribable “something” in my soul that drives me to be “all in” for what I completely adore.
It’s a super cool thing, unless my passion for the not-so-important things trumps my passion for Christ and His cross.
This happens more often than I’d like to admit:
- I’m having a stressful day? Suddenly I’m in desperate need of some coffee. Starbucks drive-thru it is.
- I just want to escape reality for a bit? I feel like I’ve got to drive to the lake as soon as I can, spread my towel on that pier, and disconnect.
- I’m emotional? I really need an ice cream cone . . . a huge one. Ice cream fixes all, right?
- I don’t even want to think about this day anymore? Nap time. Forever.
When I start to look to ice cream and coffee and naps to make everything better and to keep me going, I’m so glad God has made me fall in love with this passage of His Word: Hebrews 12.
Run Your Race
I worked at a camp in the Northwoods of Wisconsin a few summers ago, and Hebrews 12 was our staff’s theme passage. We studied it. We dug deep into it. We taught it to the campers. It convicted my heart more than any other chapter in the Bible—and it still does. Here’s why.
Keep going, keep looking to Jesus. He’s so much better . . . than everything.
Hebrews 12 begins with a metaphor about a race. The author compares Christians to runners in a race, and we (the runners), are given the command to lay aside the weights, the sin, that slows us down. Why? Because we’ve got a goal, a reason for running, a motivating factor that’s telling us to keep running, to keep enduring.
And that goal is Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at what the Word says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a 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, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Here’s the huge, massive, completely life-altering truth we need every day of our lives: Because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, we can run our race. He makes it happen. He gives us the strength to run. He gives us the grace to set aside our sin. He’s the Prize at the finish line.
So in my daily Christian life—which is a long, grueling marathon, not an easy, breezy sprint—what am I looking unto?
Looking Unto . . .
Looking unto ice cream, the cure-all for every rotten day?
Looking unto coffee, the caffeine-fix when you just can’t make it through your to-do’s?
Looking unto naps, because you’ll be in a better mood when you wake up?
I love all of those things, but they’ll never get me to the finish line of my race. They may even slow me down . . . because if I’m looking to my next latte to fuel me, I’m going give up before I ever see that finish line.
Jesus is better. He’s better than all of those loves of mine. The whole book of Hebrews shouts this truth: He’s better than everything! He wins. He trumps it all.
That’s why He should be my ultimate passion and my heavenly motivation for enduring each day.
Where Is the Race Map?
So where should I look? To Jesus. And where will I find Him? In His Word—the race map for His runners. That’s why I read the Bible. Because it’s one of the primary ways that I look to Jesus. His Word is fuel. It’s energy. It’s a picture of what’s waiting for us when we cross the finish line.
Have you been discouraged in your race? Have you felt like sitting on the sidelines because this life is a little tough, and a forever Starbucks break really does sound better than pressing on?
Will you lift your exhausted, drooping body (Heb. 12:12), and look at our Savior? The One who endured the cross so that you can finish your race?
Fellow runner, can I cheer you on? Keep going, keep looking to Jesus. He’s so much better . . . than everything.