Is your eye on the prize?

I remember in my senior year of high school I was tested to see how long it would take me to run a mile; it’s safe to say that even today, I am probably one of the slowest runners in all humanity. The end goal was simple, and the prize was very reachable: run a mile. For a runner, a mile seemed easy, but for me, I had never run a mile in my life and will probably never do it again. After my first lap, it literally felt like I was running with weights in my pocket; I realized that it was way harder than I expected. I had already watched five people do it before me so giving up was not an option; I pressed on and ran a 12 and a half minute mile. It’s safe to say that running isn't my thing, but I'll never forget it. I accomplished something and passed my class and kept my eyes on the prize. As I reflect on this high school memory, I am reminded of yesterday’s sermon at New Walk Church on Hebrews:

“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.” -Hebrews 12:1-2

In the book of Hebrews, our Christian walk is described as a race. As challenging as it seems, we’re running in it together, and the author of Hebrews provides three ways to strengthen us to get through this race and give God the glory he deserves in our lives:

Remember the Cloud of Witnesses:

In Hebrews 11 we are encouraged by our spiritual ancestors, Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc. Through their lives, we can be encouraged and be rest assured that there have been people that have successfully run this race before. We can also look to the people God has placed around us for encouragement- New Walk Church is filled with them!

Lay Aside Your Weights and Sins:

We have all experienced things in our lives that attempt to hold us down from living a life obedient to God. We may have relationships in our lives that are worth bringing before the Lord, or maybe we enjoy the things of this world too much, or perhaps we make excuses for ourselves. No matter the circumstance, we need to choose to look at ourselves in a spiritual mirror. Are there things we can eliminate, and we just don't want to?

Run to Win:

Are we giving God our best efforts or are we just getting by to pass our gym class? Are we abiding in Christ today? Are we making excuses to keep on sinning? It’s safe to say that Christianity is not a work-based faith; however, our God is so amazing, worthy, and perfect- He deserves our best efforts! I hope this encourages you on this glorious Monday to keep pressing on! Let's keep our eyes on the prize together!

Yours in Christ,
Nicholas Amado