Christian Life in the Long RunBlog / Produced by The High Calling
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of ..."
The Christian life is not a sprint. It is long distance, a marathon—and the run requires patience and perseverance. In his coaching passage in Hebrews, Paul’s word for perseverance, in its root, is the same word used to express endurance in Matthew 10,". . . he that endures to the end shall be saved." The beautiful passage in 1 Corinthians 13 employs the same word to say that love endures all things. So whether with God—the vertical relationship of our lives—or in the horizontal relationships with our friends, husbands and wives, parents and children, we are advised to pace ourselves, to persevere and endure.
How do we endure? A day at a time. Patience doesn’t arrive prepackaged and complete. We must appropriate it over and over again, morning by morning, day by day, throughout life. One of the greatest and most popular prayers of the 20th Century is used by Alcoholics Anonymous and was originally written by Reinhold Niebuhr. Beautiful, marvelous, profoundly real, “The Serenity Prayer” has at its heart the cross and resurrection of Christ:
God, grant me the serenity to accept those things I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It also speaks the theme of endurance—"living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time . . ." which upends our compulsive lives.
This brings us to verse three and Paul’s final point: Patience has been modeled for us. By whom? By the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world. How can we comprehend Christ’s suffering and patience? Simply by knowing Him. In The Revelation, the Christ who is to come shows us his scars. He forever is the wounded healer. Suffering is at His heart. His triumph comes through his suffering. And He calls us to be like him. “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself . . .”
How do we acquire patience and perseverance? Only one way: We look to Christ. We keep our eyes on the grief of the cross and the glory of His resurrection and triumph. We keep looking day after day as often as we need. We just keep looking to Christ.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1–3)