Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Challenge

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.” Hebrews 12:1 NIV1984

How you view the Christian life is important. If you see it as being all about experiences only, you will always look for experience and use that as the basis for assessing your spirituality. If you're going through a "happy" or "exciting" experience, then you would say that your Christian life is "happy" or "exciting". Of course, the reverse is also true. If you're experiences are "sad" or "boring", then that's how you would describe your Christian life, too. It's like being on a comfortable tour. But the Christian life is not about experiences or feelings only. It's actually about a journey and a goal. The writer of Hebrews calls it a race. And it's not even a solo run, like a man jogging on his own. There is a cloud of witnesses (others who have run and finished the race) watching, and all of us are running at the same time (notice the exhortation "let us"). If this is true, then the Christian life is actually a difficult challenge. Two concerns will be dominant in order to overcome this challenge: hindrances and perseverance. We must overcome (throw off) the hindrances (the sin that so easily entangles) and run with perseverance (until we finish the race, or not give up during the process). There will still be experiences and feelings along the way. Some will be happy and exciting, while others will be sad or boring. But those things are not the main things. Our focus must be on the challenge itself. We have a race to run and we must finish it. It will be difficult. Thankfully, we don't run it alone, and we don't run it by our own efforts. It's a race marked out for us by God, so God is on our side. Jesus is also the author and perfecter of our faith (and our race), so we know we will overcome the hindrances and persevere until the end. The Christian life is not a comfortable tour but a difficult challenge.

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