Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
I have always been fascinated by the marathon run in the Olympics. The runners run for very long distances to obtain a medal. All along the way there are those who cheer them on. The crowd rises to their feet as each one enters the stadium and applauds them. Even those who don’t come in the top three are applauded. The marathon is a gruelling race and some never finish, they drop out because of exhaustion. I remember seeing films of men who were so determined that to make it that they would almost have to crawl to make it across the finish line. To be a marathoner requires discipline and training. Without those 2 essentials they won’t last.
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NKJV)
Being a Christian is like being a marathoner. It requires discipline and training. These come from spending time in God’s word and in prayer. Without those two essentials it can be a long and agonizing race and many wind up dropping out. But for those who endure there is as the bible says a cloud of witnesses cheering us on. Those who have gone before us and obtained the crown.
It also means enduring the trials and temptations that come our way. Life for a Christian who is truly following in Christ’s steps is never easy and the bible says clearly that because the world hated Christ, it will also despise you. John 15:18 It means being laughed at, mocked, ridiculed and it means persecution.
We are entering a time where unless you are strong in your faith and have a close relationship with God, you will have a hard time enduring the race. Things are changing so rapidly and the signs Jesus said to watch for are all in place. Either you will run to the end or fall on the wayside. A key to enduring is not trying to make it in your own strength but in the Lord’s. It is not by might, nor is it by power, but it is by My Spirit declares the Lord of hosts. Zachariah 4:6
Are you willing to do what it takes to win that race? It requires as Hebrews says that you lay aside every weight, and the sins that so easily ensnare us. What are the things that ensnare you? Are you willing to let them go? The prize is eternal life. It is ending that race by running into arms of Jesus. To me that is the one prize I hold above all.
Mark Schultz wrote a song called Cloud of Witnesses. It’s about a group of friends and their walk with the Lord. The last verse and chorus says; So when it comes the time that Heaven calls, they’ll come running, to see the ones who’ve gone before. Who ran the race and made the journey home. To find them waiting at the finish line cheering happily. They will run and they will see, a cloud of witnesses lined up on a street of gold as they run the final mile that leads them to the throne. And through that cloud of witnesses, they can see God upon that throne and as they fall into His arms they know their home in a cloud of witnesses. Lord Jesus we long for that day!
Children’s time, Sunday morning.
The preacher asked them who they loved,
They all smiled and started pointing to their mom,
The teacher from their kindergarten class;
And each and every one
Had just come from
A cloud of witnesses
That would see them through the years
Cheer them with a smile
And pray them through the tears
A cloud of witnesses that would see them to the end,
And shower them with love that never ends
A cloud of witnesses.
They stuck together through the years,
The best of friends faith could foster
So when they found out one of them
Had heard the news
He’d lost his father,
They ran to him
And prayed and put their hands upon his head,
And slowly one by one
They’d all become
A cloud of witnesses
As they sent above a prayer
They took a hold of hands and
circled ’round a friend
A cloud of witnesses with a faith just like a rock,
They helped him give his father back to God
As a cloud of witnesses
So when it comes the time
That heaven calls
They’ll come running to see the ones who’ve gone before,
And made the journey home to find waiting for them at the finish line,
Cheerin happily they will run
and they will see
A could of witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile.
That leads them to a throne.
And through the cloud of witnesses
They see God upon the throne.
And as they fall into His arms,
They know they’re home in
A cloud of witnesses,
Surrounded by a could of witnesses.
We watched them runnin down the aisles