You may remember a couple of Olympics ago a runner running a race who couldn’t resist looking around to see if anyone was catching him.
His problem was that while he looked to his left his competitor passed him on the right.
He lost the race.
The person running a race must strictly discipline himself to keep his eyes on the finish line. He cannot look at the stands, and he cannot look around at his competitors. He must diligently keep his eye on the prize.
It’s hard for people who know and study the Scripture not to think of what the writer of Hebrews told those early believers. “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 our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The biblical writer knew the important spiritual principle of making Jesus Christ the object of our faith and our devotion. The Christian running his race must keep his eyes strictly on Jesus and not be distracted.
The biblical writer also counseled those running the race to lay aside those areas of life that hinder and entangle. You can see what he’s illustrating. The runner can’t carry extra weight. He must lay aside the weight that would hinder him from running the race.
So it is with the believer. Those sins that hinder us must be overcome and removed from our lives. The spiritual runner must be unemcumbered in order to run the race that God has set before him.
Three important principles are laid out for those of us who run the race for Christ.
First, always keep your eyes on Jesus. Make Him the goal of your life. Don’t let anything else compete with Him.
Second, get rid of those things that encumber you and keep you from running the race with integrity.
Finally, remember those who witnessed faithfully before you. They give us the example that we can indeed run the race and persevere to the very end.
You have a race to run for Christ. Fix your eyes on Him and make this race the priority of your life.