You have a particular race that God has set before you. It is a spiritual race that has to do with the divine destiny God has planned for you to fulfill. The Bible says you are to run your race and to finish your course (2 Tim 4:7). In other words, you are to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for your own life. You are not to run someone else’s race or finish their course. God has set a different course for each of us.
Lay Aside Every Weight
How do you run your race in a way that will cause the plan of God to be fulfilled in your life? Hebrews 12:1 says to, “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” The Living Bible gives a clearer picture of what it means to “lay aside every weight and sin.”
Hebrews 12:1 (TLB)
1 Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.
Think about the clothes a runner wears in an Olympic race. He doesn’t run with an overcoat or with all his street clothes on. That would slow him down. It’s the same way in the spiritual realm. Sin will slow you down, trip you up, and prevent you from running your race. There are other things in this life that are not necessarily wrong, but they will slow you down. They will hinder you from growing spiritually and fulfilling God’s purposes in your life.
Notice Hebrews 12:1 says you are the one who must strip off the weights and sins that hold you back. The Holy Spirit, your Helper, dwells within you to give you the power and ability to obey God (John 14:26 AMP). But God is not going to pull off your “overcoat”—those weights and sins that slow you down—and lay it aside for you. You are going to have to do it.
God doesn’t want our race to be difficult and burdensome. The difficulties we face are not God’s yoke on us. They are often the result of failing to strip off everything that would hinder us.
We can make our way difficult and hinder our spiritual growth if we do not run with patience the race that is set before us.
Run With Patience
We can also make our way difficult and hinder our spiritual growth if we do not run our race with patience. It is easy to become impatient in our desire to see God’s plans and purposes fulfilled in our lives. For example, we can become so time conscious. Many times when we hear from the Lord regarding His plan for us, we want it to be fulfilled immediately. But we need to learn patience as we run our race.
Jesus told me once when He appeared to me in a vision, “I’d rather you were too slow than too fast when you are trying to follow my leading. At least when you’re behind Me, you can still see Me out ahead of you. But if you’re too fast and jump out ahead of Me, you won’t be able to see Me any longer, and you’ll get off track.”
Our race is often like a relay race where the runner races until he reaches a certain station. Then he hands the baton to the next runner. In the same way, there are often different stages to the Christian race. However, God has a timing for each of the stages. Often, our obedience determines how long the time is between one stage and the next.
Preparing for His Purposes
Many times people hear from God regarding the next stage in their race and assume they are supposed to act right away on what they heard. Many times, however, they are not ready or they have not fully prepared themselves as they should. When they step out to do what God told them, it doesn’t work out right, and they fall on their faces. God has a way, but He also has timing. And to move out of God’s timing is to move out of His will.
Someone might say, “Will things ever change? I know God is preparing me, and I want to be faithful. It seems that I’ve been in this place of preparation for a long time. Will it ever be different?” Just continue to trust God with all your heart. Don’t try to figure out how and when God is going to fulfill His plan for you. As you pray, He will reveal each step you need to take.
You may not come into the full potential of what God has prepared for you tomorrow or next month. Be faithful to prepare yourself and rely on the Holy Spirit’s leading. As you do this, you will step into what God has planned for you. And if God hasn’t specifically spoken to your heart regarding His plans for your future, then just stay put where you are. Be faithful to what He has told you to do with a joyful heart.
Strip off everything that would hinder you from obeying God. Then run your race with your eyes set on the goal—the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:14). Determine to follow God’s plan for your life and finish your course with joy.
Faith in Action
On Your Mark, Get Set . . . Commit
When we try to run someone else’s race or a race of our choosing, we are missing the mark. We are to run the race and finish the course God has uniquely designed for each of us. As you follow after God, make this commitment in your heart:
“I will always follow God in His plans for my life. It’s His will that I want and not my own. I will quickly lay down the weights that would keep me from running His race. And I will not jump ahead of God but instead wait for His timing. For His way is always best.”
Kenneth E. Hagin
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