The Australian Olympic Team has appointed four “Athlete Liaison Officers.” These officers are past champion athletes who mentor the team, inspiring and encouraging them to a greater performance. What makes their encouragement special is that these people (e.g. Steve Waugh, former Australian cricket captain) have been at the top of their sport and achieved great things. Their encouragement has extra weight. Hebrews Chapter 11 lists the past champions of the Christian faith. These champions (“cloud of witnesses”) are sitting in the stand cheering YOU on in your faith.
The message from these champions is to throw off the extra weight and sin that holds you back. A marathoner wears a minimal kit of singlet, shorts and lightweight shoes. Anything extra is a burden. So too, a cross country runner can get bogged down by mud. In faith, many things will be a barrier to your walk with God.
As a result, you are to run the race with endurance. Marathoners passing 30km talk about “hitting the wall.” It refers to a physiological and psychological state of becoming fatigued. It is then that the runner must focus and keep going. It is the same in our faith. We can get distracted or tired. But how can we keep going?
Focusing on Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith is the tip. It is by focusing on Jesus that we can keep running the course and not slow down. If you wanted to train for a marathon, you would seek an expert who knows about distance running and has completed the race before. So too, Jesus has run the race of faith (perfectly), endured till the end and as a result allows us to share in His victory. In fact, Jesus takes away all our sin and gives us His gold medal victory over sin and death.
As you watch the Olympics in London, a hearty recommendation is read Hebrews Chapter 11 and 12 to remind you of the great need to endure in your faith. For some, this might mean enduring hardships and persecution. Others might be rejected or embarrassed because of their faith. For others, faith might not be that important because the comforts of the world make us “slow down” our faith. Whatever the reason, the call is to never give up, by focusing on Jesus so we might not grow weary.