The Rule of the Race

Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1, 2.

THE apostle saith, “Let us run.” He has in his mind’s eye the Olympic games, where all the different tribes of Greece were gathered together in general assembly to display the prowess of the race. Among the athletic exercises were foot-races. The apostle makes this foot-race an illustration of the Christian life. We must run with patience along the appointed course if we would win the prize of our high calling.

He stands with us at the starting-point, and earnestly says to us, not “Run,” but, “Let us run.” The apostle himself is at our side as a runner. The presence of such a comrade is most inspiriting. It is good doing good things in good company. “Let us run,” saith he, “with patience the race that is set before us.” Who will back out of a race wherein so great a saint takes his place at our side? …

Before we start, with a wave of the hand the apostle directs us to the spectators who throng the sides of the course. There were always such at those races: each city and state yielded its contingent, and the assembled throng watched with eager eye the efforts of those who strove for the mastery. Those who look down upon us from yonder heavens are described as “so great a cloud of witnesses.” These compass us about. Thousands upon thousands, who have run this race before us, and have attained their crowns, behold us from their heavenly seats, and mark how we behave ourselves. This race is worth running, for the eyes of “the nations of them which are saved” are fixed upon us. … Angels, and principalities, and powers, and hosts redeemed by blood, have mustered to behold the glorious spectacle of men agonizing for holiness, and putting forth their utmost strength to copy the Lord Jesus. Ye that are men, now run for it! If there be any spiritual life and gracious strength in you, put it forth to-day; for patriarchs and prophets, saints, martyrs, and apostles look down from heaven upon you.

— Charles H. Spurgeon, 1888