In order to be successful in the race of life and reach the goal of heaven, we must follow God and obey his word.
As we notice in Hebrews 12:1-2, there are things we must do: We must put behind us all things that keep us from following God, realizing that such things will cause us to sin — and sin separates us from God.
The prophet Isaiah wrote, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).
The Hebrew writer tells us to run the race with patience, looking unto Jesus. Jesus should be our focal point in life. If he is, the race will be one we can win.
The writer said, “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:2).
Later in this same book, it is said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb.5:8-9).
It is Jesus who was willing to die for all mankind so that man could be justified before God. This sacrifice was not one of chance — this was the plan of God from the time man sinned in the Garden of Eden.
The Apostle Peter said, “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).
The love exemplified by God to send a savior to mankind is the greatest love ever seen by man.
The joy spoken of is the joy Christ had in fulfilling the will of the Father, and in dying knowing that all men could be saved if they would come to God, on his terms, obeying his word.
This is how we can be successful in the running of our race. As Christ lived to fulfill the will of the Father, so must all mankind.
Jesus even told this as Matthew recorded: “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
God has not left us to figure out his will. He has given us the Bible so we can know what we are to do in order to run the race.
It tells us that in order to be pleasing to God, we must believe in Jesus (Heb. 11:6), repent of our sins (Luke 13:3) and confess that Jesus is the Son of God (Rom. 10:10), then be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38).
After doing these things, we must live lives that are faithful to God (Rev. 2:10).
Some may not think that running the race as God described is worth all the effort, but they are wrong. Heaven awaits those who will “run the race with patience,” and that will be worth all that may have been set aside, given up or sacrificed.