“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1, 2
There is a “race that is set before” every one of us. Although we share similar paths and goals in our spiritual journeys, the particular race that each of us is to run is unique to us. Our races begin in the same way, commencing when we are born again. Our races will end in the same way, taking us to the feet of Jesus and our new home in Heaven.
However, the course will differ for each of us. According to our text, Jesus is our example in running our race; and we are encouraged as we see His stamina and determination. His race took Him to the old rugged cross, where He died for our sins. Jesus accepted His race, ran His race, and finished His race. Thank God for that!
We are given in this Scripture valuable advice for running our race. For instance, we are to remember that we are a part of a much larger group of runners. When the Word of God says, “we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” it is referring to those mentioned in the previous chapter. Hebrews 11 speaks of the men and women who served and sacrificed by faith. The names of very familiar men and women of God are mentioned, but we are told that it would not be possible to list them all. These former men and women of faith form a “great . . . cloud of witnesses.” This implies that we are being watched by a tremendous group of spectators who have already completed their race.
We are then told to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” This race demands that we trim from our lives all that would hinder us in our running. We are to run this race with “patience,” which is another word for “endurance or continuance.” It is not a sprint or short race, but an endurance race. Finally, we are told to be “looking unto Jesus.” We are to keep our eyes on the Savior. This is simple and profoundly helpful counsel. Throughout this Christian life, we are instructed to train ourselves to keep looking unto Jesus.