Your circumstances are not an accident!

I don’t get to pick the race that I run; God does.

November 14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1

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Your circumstances are not an accident!

The context of today’s verse is the previous chapter in which the writer has just described many of the people of Scripture who practiced godly faith. The writer now encourages us to respond to the witness of these men and women of faith. This verse is packed with great truths, much more than we can discuss in a single short devotional, and so I will focus on one point.

This verse is one of the verses that suggest that Paul could have been the author of this epistle to the Hebrews. Paul often used similar language in his writing. This is not conclusive and so we cannot be dogmatic. Who the Holy Spirit inspired to write the words is not nearly as important as the words they penned.

The writer encourages us to strip off everything that might slow us down. He is picturing a runner in a race. If we are going to run in a race, our speed will be partly determined by the weight that we are carrying. The more weight we carry, they slower we will run. The inference here is that we should be running as efficiently as possible.

We are also instructed to run with endurance. That means that we can’t give up if it gets hard. The race is long, your whole life, and there will be times when the road is steep or difficult. During those times we need to keep going. We also need to keep running even when we don’t see any other runners on the road. We must keep running.

The thing that struck me this morning about this verse was the last part. It is the description of the race that we are to run. The writer tells us to run ‘the race that God has set before us.’ This means to me that I don’t get to pick the race that I run; God does. He decides the kind of life that I get to lead. I don’t to decide whether I run the 100-meter versus a marathon.

This has significant implications. That means that the life that I am living was determined by God and He wants me to run this race to the best of my abilities, whether I like it or not. That is not a problem when everything is puppy dogs, ice cream, and rainbows. It is another thing entirely when we are talking about illnesses, misfortunes, and distresses. We are to run with endurance whatever race God sets before us, whether our description of that race is good or bad. Your circumstances are not an accident.

We must be faithful and diligent to strip off everything that hinders our ability to run the race God has set before, whether that race is easy or hard. We are mistaken when we describe difficult circumstances as ‘bad.’ God is a good God and all things are working for good. We may not be able to see the good that awaits us at the finish line, but it is there. That’s where faith comes in. Jesus, teach us to run this race You set before us.

Daily Bible Reading Plan:
Read: Ezekiel 29:-30:26; Hebrews 11:32-12:13; Psalm 112:1-10; Proverbs 27:17

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