One of my all-time favorite movies is "Chariots of Fire." A favorite scene is when Eric Liddell, a Scottish runner, is knocked down by a competitor but gets up to finish and win the race.
Eric Liddell went on to be a gold medal winner in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. But his greater victory was finishing his life well as a missionary in China.
Liddell is a modern-day example of one who ran the race of the Christian faith well and never gave up. His heart was fixed on Jesus, the focus of his faith.
He learned the importance of removing whatever would hinder his faith and trust in Jesus. Jesus saw beyond His gruesome death on the cross and was filled with joy for what His resurrection would bring to the lives of those who trust in Him.
Since we are surrounded by so many examples ⌊of faith⌋, we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us. We must run the race that lies ahead of us and never give up.
We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith. He saw the joy ahead of him, so he endured death on the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him. Then he received the highest position in heaven, the one next to the throne of God.
Think about Jesus, who endured opposition from sinners, so that you don’t become tired and give up. [vss 1-3]
(Hebrews 12:1-3 GW) [Context– Hebrews 12]
We must focus on Jesus, the source and goal of our faith
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What are Christian believers surrounded by? Who is included in this "great cloud of people?"
What do we need to do "run the race" and what are two things believers need to "get rid of" from our lives?
Who are we exhorted to focus our attention on and how is He described in relation to faith?
Where is Jesus now? How is this relevant to this exhortation and the whole book of Hebrews?
Why do we get discouraged and want to give up? Because we rely too much on our own self-effort, and because we lose sight of why we have a true hope.
Jesus is our example but He's also the source and focus of our faith. When He is any less in our life, we will stumble along the path of life, easily distracted and drawn away from following Him.
We are responsible for what we choose and pursue. So, we need to remove what gets in our way and holds us back. But how?
We need to stop giving attention to what hinders and entangles us. We need to fix our attention on Jesus—our personal trust in Him and His life example. We need to replace the former with the latter, the better focus of our attention.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
How does what Jesus suffered and endured relate to the original readers and hearers of this exhortation?
Have you struggled with your faith? What things in life get in your way and distract you from focusing on Jesus?
What are specific ways you see that would help you refocus your attention on Jesus each day?
Are there specific times you've overcome hindrances and distractions to your faith?