We often think of patience as an act of waiting, and we speak of being patient when there is something that we want but that is not yet come. However, patience is endurance. We should bear that in mind when in Hebrews 12:1 we read, "Therefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us with patience run in the race that is set before us."
Surely we cannot "wait" and "run a race" at the same time. We can however "run a race" with "endurance." Because we have the strength to run, we press on, even though there are things that hurt our flesh and that make running difficult. If we really want that prize, we certainly will run, even though it hurts, and some watching us ridicule us and advise us to stop.
Now, the idea here is not that we are running against others, trying to keep them from that prize. The author of this epistle speaks of a cloud of witnesses who ran in times past and reached the prize. Running with jealousy is running in a different race, for fleshly prizes.
The race set before us is one wherein one runs alone, and receives the prize because he reached the goal, not because he outran others. He must go forward and stay on the path that leads to where God gives the prize.
The saints mentioned in this verse, and called witnesses, are those of whom we read in chapter eleven. They also ran alone. In fact, they all ran in different periods of time. They received the prizes, and that encourages us to run with confidence. With the endurance, the ability, to continue in spite of the difficulties and complaining of the flesh, we must run, being thankful that our God through His Son and His cross realized the prize for us.
That prize is the crown of righteousness of which Paul told Timothy.
Read: II Timothy 4:1-8
Through the Bible in One Year
2 Chronicles 30; 2 Chronicles 31:1-21
Quote for Reflection:
Be not wiser than God; - train your children as He trains His. — J. C. Ryle
- Date: 1-August