“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who by faith have testified to the truth of God’s absolute faithfulness], stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work]. Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Hebrews 12:1-3

I know I have used these verses in an older post; however, Holy Spirit told me to use them again. This time, though, I want to address something different. With technology, social media, and that fast-paced life we all live, it seems to be getting more and more difficult to focus on God as each day progresses. It’s hard not to get distracted; however, it is so important to remain focused and endure in these last days.

That is what I want to talk about today. I want to encourage anyone reading this to endure and look away from anything that will distract you. Focus on Christ, who is waiting for us at the finish line and who sent the Holy Spirit to run alongside us and keep us encouraged and focused on the right path. We get closer to the finish line the more we run this race, so never give up. Your labor is not in vain.

Remember the old folktale of the tortoise and the hare? Although the hare was obviously faster, he did not stay on the course and instead became distracted, was too arrogant in his own abilities, and lost the race. Although the tortoise was so much slower, he never veered off course and instead pushed through to the end. Because of his endurance and focus, he won—despite not being the fastest. There are multiple points I want to make about this, and they go as follows:

1. God does not always choose the fastest, the strongest, or the smartest.
God can and will use anyone. No person is useless, and every person was created by God and given a unique purpose. Being unique means that you can’t compare yourself to someone else. You were not called or designed to do what they are doing. The tortoise was not designed like the hare; however, the tortoise was still able to succeed. What would have happened if the tortoise looked at the hare and said, “I’m not as fast as him, so I can’t do this”? Or, what if the tortoise chose to try to mimic the hare simply because he thought the hare knew better? In either case, we wouldn’t have the same folktale because the tortoise would not have won. In the same way, don’t become discouraged because you’re looking to your right or left at other people, and don’t try to mimic what another person does. They were not called to be you, and you were not called to be them. God gave you a purpose that only you can fulfill, and you won’t be able to do it by trying to be someone else. You will finish your race victoriously if you focus on the end goal rather than another person.

2. Arrogance is an immense deterrent.
Being too confident (prideful) in your own abilities will only cause you to stumble because you’re fixated on yourself and not on the course ahead of you. Pride prevents you from reaching out to God and asking Him to work through you and to help you. Being prideful means having the mentality that you can do it yourself, and you don’t need help from anyone, which is a lie. We do need God, and it’s okay to need help. If you must boast, boast about the God who made you who you are and who will bring you to a victory that is too great for you to have reached through your own capabilities.

3. Getting distracted does not make you a failure.
The beauty of God’s never-ending grace is that He will pick us up every time we fall, and He will redirect us every time we get lost and end up off course. Of course, this does not give us the excuse to remain in our own, old ways and not progress in this race we’re running simply because God will forgive us. It just assures us that losing sight, getting distracted, and stumbling does not make us a lost cause or disqualify us. Get back on course and keep pushing through. Don’t stop until you reach the finish line. If you stumble, it’s okay. God will pick you up, brush you off, and set you back on track, so you can keep going. Endure until the end. I can assure you that this entire race is well worth it. 

Published by Amber Oglesby