Thought-Have you pondered lately, what are you running from and what are you running to? Because if we are honest with ourselves, we are always running from something or towards something our whole life.

Scripture: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2

Insight: They say when you wake up in the morning in Africa and your a Gazelle, you better be running because if you don’t run fast enough, a Lion will catch you and kill you, and if you wake up and you’re a Lion in Africa, you better be running because if you aren’t fast enough to catch a Gazelle, you will starve to death. So either way, you better be running. Life is like a race.For some they treat it like a sprint, for others that pace is way too fast and they treat it like a marathon. But whether we treat life like a sprint or a marathon, we all are running a race. But a race against what exactly? Most people would answer that question as a race against time. Some want to get as much pleasure out of life in the time that they have to enjoy it. Others want to grow in whatever endeavor they are called to pursue and have a lifetime of meaning and significance. Most of us are usually running away from something in our past and running towards something new. That could include relationships, careers, addictions, ourselves, responsibility, reality, and the list goes on and on.

The Bible verse above from Hebrews 12:1-2 gives us good instruction on what it takes to run a good race. We must throw off things, like sin, that entangle us, we must have perseverance and we must stay focused.  The Apostle Paul ‘s life gives us a a good example of what is possible if we follow the instructions above. We can literally re-make ourselves into something brand new in Christ Jesus. Paul had run away from his past life as a persecutor of those who followed the Christian faith, and ran a new race fervently commitment to Jesus Christ and to preach the gospel on His behalf. Though he endured many hardships as a result of his commitment to Christ, he kept his eye on his eternal promise, ” the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day.” 2nd Timothy 4:8 His race was a marathon, with an eternal focus, not a sprint. We all have to make a decision on what we are going to pursue in our lives. I have met many people whose lives are stuck in the past and their dreams have been mired by the sin that still controls them. Rather than coming to a place of repentance and freedom in Christ, both their self pride and self doubt keeps them from accepting the free gift of salvation, and they just keep making the same mistakes over and over. It is almost as if they are like a hamster on a wheel, running and running, and yet making no progress. They spend their entire life running from themselves and they tend to be running right towards their own destruction. There is a clear alternative. You can make yourself a new path forward filled with hope and joy and free from the guilt of your past mistakes. How can you do this? By accepting the invitation of Jesus Christ as your savior. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away and the new has come.” Our past mistakes do not have to define us. Although there are always consequences to our actions and our sinful acts, there doesn’t have to been a lifetime of condemnation and guilt. Romans 8;1 promises “therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” We love to beat ourselves up, Christ wants to set us free. We view God as a traffic cop, with a radar gun, behind a billboard just waiting to bust us. So we do everything in our power to avoid Him and his ‘judgement.’ But if we trust in the Lord, and His plan for us, we soon come to realize that rather than judgement, He dispenses mercy, grace, forgiveness and love. All the things we need for moving forward from our past quagmires are found in Christ Jesus. We find, like Paul, a new direction and purpose in our life through Him. Jesus died for forgiveness of our sins, so we could be set free. We should then run our race as if we are free.  He will protects us from the true judgement of God on our day of reckoning through his merciful sacrifice on the Cross. He waits to lead us forward, forgetting the past, striving towards the future. Our sins are left behind us, their binding shackles removed once and for all. We are free to run and win the race of life, energized through our risen Lord. We find the strength to finish strong and claim the prize that awaits us at the finish line; An eternal resting place where we no longer have to race, but rather can rest from this life’s grueling race. Praise and glory be to God.

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