Posted on July 31 2017
Our faith is what drives us. We live our lives in reply to what God has done for us through Jesus. When we speak of committing, focusing, and finishing, our faith is the noun that the verbs are referring to. It is the object of our commitment, our focus, and our finish. Hebrews 12:1-2 is a perfect verse to evaluate.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” -Hebrews 12:1-2
It takes commitment to ones faith to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.” That is not easy to do; it is nothing short of a fight. Few things in life turn out well without a true commitment. If a runner decides that she will compete in her first marathon, the first real step is to commit to doing it; to sign up. Without that, there is no goal to drive toward, no reason to focus, or no finish line to cross. We commit to our faith when we turn to and trust in Jesus and turn from our old ways of living.
Once the commitment is made, focus is required for success. Just because our aspiring marathoner has committed to show up does not mean that she won’t slack until the big day. She needs focus. She must eliminate distractions, have a training plan, and execute it well. Christ-followers need focus on our race as well. We must “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Jesus must be our focus. Our faith is in Him, and if we lose that focus, we will either veer off course or run out of breath, and our marathon finish will be mediocre at best. We must daily remind ourselves who we are in Christ. We are children of God; loved by Him and liked by Him. We can approach him with boldness and excitement because of our identity in Jesus. When we keep that focus, we run well, and we invite others to run with us.
A strong finish only comes with both a commitment to the race and a focus on the goal. Jesus is both the focus and the finish line. When we realize the depths of our sin problem, see Jesus as the beautiful solution, and place our faith in Him, we make the commitment. Next, we daily remind ourselves of who we are in Him, we grow closer to Him as we spend time in His Word and prayer, we walk through life with a community of believers that share the same goals; these are the tools with which we train. They are our track, our running shoes, and a great set of noise-cancelling headphones. Only when we commit to our faith and keep our focus on Jesus do we finish well.
The marathoner can't be competitive in the race without both commitment and focus; and Christ-followers can't be nearly as effective in God’s Kingdom without the same.