Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
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. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. Hebrews 12.1-3
During my first pregnancy, my husband and I took Lamaze classes at the local hospital. I learned how to breathe my way through labor by having a breathing technique and a focal point. My focal point in my first pregnancy was a tiny red bear. Without a doubt, focusing on that little bear helped me to manage the labor pains in a positive way.
We are in a race. The prize for those who finish the race is a heavenly one. There will be many distractions thrown our way to slow us down or take us out of the race all together. We cannot let that happen. The great cloud of witnesses that are cheering for us are those who are mentioned in Hebrews 11.
We must get rid of the things that weigh us down as well as the sin that is so tempting. God has promised an escape from the temptations if I will but look for it, 1 Corinthians 10.13. This race is one of endurance.
To win this race, we have to have a sharp focus. We can have no better focus than Jesus. He has already run the race and finished it. Jesus had a focal point. It was the joy set before him of sitting at the right hand of God. He did not grow weary to the point of giving up. He is our example. Let us sharpen our focus!