Genesis 37:23, 24, “Joseph’s brothers took him and cast him into a pit”
Hebrews 12:1, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”
Can you remember the last time you ran in a race? Maybe it was in a high school or college track meet. If you have ever run a race can you remember what it was like? You had to run a certain distance. There was a course set out for you. There was a finish line and a prize for the one who finished first. Track star Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals in the 1960 Olympics, but to get there she had to overcome some enormous hurdles? Stricken with scarlet fever at the age of 4, she lost the use of her left leg and had to learn to walk again when she was 7 years old. Football great O. J. Simpson had a similar experience. As a youth, he suffered from calcium deficiency and wore leg braces for several years. The condition left his legs bowed. Yet, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 and became one of NFL’s all time greats.
While writing this post, I was reminded of an individual named Joseph, whose story is found in the book of Genesis. His obstacles weren’t physical ones but they were even greater than the ones mentioned above. As a young lad, he was hated by his brothers, thrown into a pit, and sold into slavery. Later in Egypt he was falsely accused of making advances to his employer’s wife and was cast into prison. Yet, Joseph became a model of courage and he never quit the course that God had set before him. Thus, he rose to become governor of Egypt, and under God’s providence he became a “savior” of his brothers, the very ones who had treated him so unjustly.
Maybe you’re reading this and you have become weary in the Christian race you started. If so, maybe you need to cast off some encumbrances or entangling sins. Someone has pointed out that gold is just as heavy a weight as lead. If you’re trying to carry the world’s treasures while you run the race of faith, you’re going to get tired. Throw off whatever hinders your growth in godliness. Perhaps you’re grumbling about the course that God has set for you. You say, “It’s not fair!” If so, you need to submit once again to the sovereign hand of Almighty God, who sets different courses for His children according to His purpose. Perhaps you need to refocus on Jesus and the joy of receiving the crown of righteousness that He has promised to all who finish the course ( 2 Timothy 4:7, 8 ).
If you’re a child of the King you can end the Christian race well, even if you began late, started slow, or even faltered along the way. The secret is to stay true and your eyes focused on Jesus Christ to the very last moment. I like the way it’s stated in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” As we run the Christian race, our goal is to “run in such a way” that we may win an imperishable crown – an eternal reward from our Savior (1 Corinthians 3:12-14; 9:24-25) However, this requires personal discipline, hard work, and continual improvement. It includes a Spirit-enabled commitment to do our very best for the Lord. My brethren that takes perseverance, an all-out effort, and a push to become increasingly like Christ. Running that way is worth it, for the prize will last forever.
(1) So, my beloved are you still in the race? or
(2) Are you a spectator on the side lines watching?
Great achievement requires great perseverance.