On Saturday, I sat comfortably to watch Eliud Kipchoge attempt his 1:59 marathon challenge. I know I didn’t contribute much but was proud to see him cross the line and achieve his goal. My Facebook wall then became all about this man who seemed to do the impossible and my friends joined the world to cheer fellow man to greatness.
But as I sat there I wondered how this compares to the race that we are in as Christians. I think there’s something very different about the Christian race. You see regardless of all the preparation and help accorded to Eliud by his pacemakers, at the end of the day he was the hero. A lot more depended on him: his readiness, his hashtag philosophy and a constant reminder why he has to make it to the finish line. It was his race and he therefore deserved the honour at the end of line.
But that’s the difference with our Christian race because a lot more depends on another and therefore the glory goes to him.
Our race is motivated and ensured by the one who went ahead of us and is now sitted in victory, Jesus Christ the founder and perfector of our faith as we see Hebrews 12:2:
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Yes there are things we can learn from those like Eliud that have gone ahead of us as we see in Hebrews 11, but the object and power behind our faith lies not in us but in him. The impossible is not overcome by great determination and planning but by dependence on the one who called us and sustains us by his Word.
There’s a call to strive and persevere to the end but as we see in the context of the books of Hebrews all that hinges on knowing and holding fast to Jesus and his Word as we see 2:1:
We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.
You could say that what really determines our Christian success at the end is our view of Jesus, what he has done and is doing in us by his Word. And when we win the race it’s him not us who will have won it.
This gives me great encouragement because I don’t think I need to be like super Eliud however much I admire the man. What I need is my eyes on God’s Word to see Jesus for who he is and my knees on the floor to call on him assured that only he can help me in my weaknesses, 2:18:
18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
And I know I will make it because he will achieve it in me as I hold fast to him and his Word.