“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the RACE set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on JESUS, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2a (NLT- emphasis mine)
I assume that a common belief shared by all is that, “Life is a race.” I also assume that for those who believe in Christ, it is an accepted fact that the journey to heaven, God’s kingdom, is a race, as clearly stated in the Bible. However, what I do not assume is that everyone who believes (or claim to believe) is aware that this heavenly race is a PERSONAL RACE.
I smile (although actually I feel like shaking my head) when we Christians (and I mean every single person who claims to be a christian) make reference to others as being worse off than we are when our actions/lifestyle come(s) under check in light of the word of God. You’d hear something like, “Well, even the ‘spiri’ brother/sister in church does worse things than I do.” Sometimes, it’s even a case of generalization, “It is common practice – everybody, even the believer, is doing it.” The other thing we also do is rationalize the Bible to justify our actions based on what this person or that person says. Unfortunately, many of us are not even interested in reforming our lifestyle to conform to God’s word because we are fixated on a pastor who is yet conformed to the world. Again, you’d hear something like, “You’re telling me not to do this/that but isn’t that the exact thing this pastor/that pastor is doing? He’s even worse than I am.”
Hmm, when will ye know, oh brother/sister, that this is not a group race but a personal one? Simply cast your mind back to athletes, and picture with your mind’s eye, how they run any race set before them. Their sole attention/full concentration is always only on themselves, not another. They have their eyes fixed on the finish line. They don’t allow the luxury of looking around or comparing their performance with another’s because they’ll be sorely distracted and lose out if care is not taken. They are busy sprinting with every ounce of energy in them, while conforming to every rule of the game so they don’t get disqualified. No wonder the Bible says, “Those who compare themselves with themselves are not wise.” 2Corinthians 10:12
The race to heaven is a personal race and not a group race. It is not a relay so your performance is not determined by the performance of another person. Stop using other people as the yardstick for your lifestyle and actions. In running this race, the subject of fixation is Jesus (Hebrews 12:2a), not pastor or church members. Everyone will stand for himself to give account of his stewardship. No pastor will speak on your behalf, neither your friend nor family member. You can’t say, “But Lord, most pastors were wolves-in-sheep’s clothing and that discouraged me from doing the right thing,” or “So many church folks were hypocrites so I told myself to beat it.” Nah, no excuse will be tenable.
It is true that some so-called Christians, pastors, ministers, and others indulge in unspeakable and unimaginable acts and use the name of the Lord as cover up. It is true that people of various denominations blatantly flout God’s rule and go about with bold faces, but what is that to you? When running on the track, do you concern yourself with who is or who is not running right? No, I do not think so. The same applies to the heavenly race. What you and I should make our concern is how to finish and finish good. We cannot afford to adopt/adapt the wrongdoing of others because they seem to be getting away with it. When it’s time to give account, God will not spare wrongdoing and it wouldn’t matter who got caught – minister or church member! Colossians 3:25 puts this clearly:
“And all wrongdoers will be repaid for the wrong things they do, because God judges EVERYONE by the SAME STANDARD.” (GNT-emphasis mine)
“For the one who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there are NO EXCEPTIONS.” (NET-emphasis mine)
“For the wrongdoer will have punishment for the wrong he has done, WITHOUT RESPECT for ANY MAN’S POSITION.” (BBE-emphasis mine)
Jesus is our perfect example ‘cos He alone is infallible. He is THE reference point; keep your gaze on Him and you’ll be on point. It’s a personal race so ask Him for grace…
© 2014 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!