Scripture: Hebrews 12:1–3
Key Verse: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1b–2a)
Have you ever tried to run while staring at your feet? Even over a short distance, it’s hard to keep your balance. On top of that, it feels like it takes extra effort. As we focus on the thump, thump of our footsteps, it’s as if gravity has been amped up a notch. We tire more quickly, and we’re more prone to give up.
Life can feel like that at times. Pressures of schoolwork. Thump, thump. Strains in relationship. Thump, thump. Juggling extracurricular activities. Thump, thump. Even trying to be a good person for God. Thump, thump. Our trying is just tiring. We stare at the challenges of the day and feel like we’re losing our balance, like we’re on the verge of falling.
God knows how we feel. God’s Son faced many difficult days… including a horrible period of suffering that ended on the cross. Three piercing nails. Thump, thump, thump!
But the eyes of Jesus were not the nails. His focus was on “the joy that was set before him” (Hebrews 12:2). His joy was in the endgame: people like you and me restored to a right relationship with the Father, and Jesus with us forever in heavenly glory.
Jesus invites us to run life’s race with eyes on him. he has already defeated our biggest problems: sin and death. He knows endurance is hard, so he’s with us every step of the way.
How does the fact that Jesus understand pain help you to endure? What areas of sin and disobedience are currently drawing your eyes away from Jesus?
If you are able, go for a walk or run this week. Start off while looking at your feet. After a few paces, begin to look ahead. Notice how the walk/run becomes easier as you shift focus. Now think about your relationship with Jesus. You can sing or mediate on his Word. At the end of your walk/run reflect on how your sense of joy increased. Consider what issues no longer seem as big. Did time seem to go by more quickly as you let Jesus be the center of your attention?
Jesus, thank you for enduring great pain because of your love for me. Help me to set aside sinful habits and refocus my attention on you. Thank you for walking with me and offering me your joy. Amen.