Imagine this: You’re watching the Super Bowl—the biggest game of the year—and at the end of the third quarter, with the score tied, you turn the TV off and say, “I’ve seen enough. I think I know who will win. No point in watching anymore.”
Now that would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it? You can’t judge a game based on three quarters … because it’s the fourth quarter that determines the winner. And just as that’s true in sports, it’s true in life. It’s not how well you start the Christian life, but how well you finish that matters.
All too often today, people quit before the fourth quarter even begins. They say, “I’m beat. Things are too hard. There’s too much going against me, so I’m done.” But that’s not what God wants for you. In fact, in Hebrews 12:1-2, the author makes it clear how you should always keep your eyes on the finish line.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So how can you go the distance? Well, as we look at this text, there are three keys to crossing the finish line strongly. You must be forewarned
There’s an old saying that says, “To be forewarned is to be forearmed.” You need to first know that the race is long and you must have endurance to run it. That’s why verse 1 says, “… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The Christian life is not a 100-meter dash of speed, it is a marathon race of endurance. It is a long run that requires perseverance and endurance to make it all the way to the finish line. You must be freed
Now, if you’ve ever seen runners in a race, they all wear light clothing. And that’s exactly what God means when He says, “… let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us …” It’s so important not to be weighed down as you run the race called the Christian life. So whatever’s holding you back from running your best, unload it and discover the freedom and power to run the race! You must be focused
That’s why verse 2 says, “… fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith …” How do you finish strong and not get derailed in the race? Regardless of the circumstances, fix your eyes on Jesus. So whether you feel like you’re ahead, behind, or even injured in the race of life, keep your eyes focused on Jesus Christ.
When it comes to running the race of the Christian life, remember to be: (1) forewarned of the endurance you’ll need, (2) freed from what weighs you down, and (3) focused on the prize of Jesus Christ. When you do all three, you’ll cross the finish line of life and grab hold of the wonderful prize of eternity with God in glory!