Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Life Advice

Don’t Go Running Blind

A devotional by Sharon Musgrove

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
–Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

Running races was something I did when I was younger. I loved it! I ran the occasional city race or fundraiser, and daily I ran alone.

The longest race I’ve run was a half marathon. The “half” is 13.1 miles. Initially, I wanted to run the full marathon, but early in training, I sustained an injury and settled for the shorter distance. I was disappointed to be running what I thought to be a second-rate competition. I was more bummed at lowering the bar of my personal achievements than my concern for my strained achilles tendon. I found a way to continue in training.

I was running for my glory. I was running blind.

Because of my running, I’ve appreciated this passage in Hebrews chapter 12. However, the author is not writing about a race like the one I ran. He did not promote challenges to prove oneself. This race he pens is a fight for life.

In the ancient world, the Olympic games were severe. Competitions were often to the death. While, like me, some contenders might have been seeking their own glory, but it was also common that prisoners were pit against each other for entertainment.

Imagine a stadium filled with spectators awaiting who would emerge victorious. This was no time to daydream or get sidetracked with whose shoes were a better brand! There was no silver medal for second place. Competition demanded focus and putting to use the daily training.

In these verses in Hebrews 12, I see four “sights” to keep us intentional in this “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) rather than running blind. Let’s look at the scripture moving from the end to the beginning: “…Jesus…who for the joy set before him endured…and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Let’s examine those four “sights”:

Sight #1: Run with eyes set on the throne of God

There absolutely is an end to the marathon and the prize is a face to face with the great I AM! For all of the striving and effort we put into proving value, the time is coming when we will look our Father in the eye and He will know every footfall we’ve had. What a reward!

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith….”

Sight #2: Run with eyes set on Jesus

Jesus set the pace, training us daily by the records of him running ahead. It is Jesus who makes our victory possible! He endured what was set before him and knows we can follow.

“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely….”

Sight #3: Run seeing that the thing that holds you back is sin and the shame of it.

The blood of Christ on the cross was death to sin and death to shame. Forgiveness does not hold a grudge nor does it consider you accountable. The price is paid. Let it be paid. Shame is weighing you down. Lay it aside. Jesus despises it!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses….”

Sight #4: Run seeing the eyes that watch

There is no such thing as a secret. There are always witnesses to how we run this race. Children observe parents. Neighbors survey their hood. Heavenly beings also watch on as we run.

Let us be encouraged as we run the race before us. Let us not run blind, as if a spiritual world does not exist or if our steps do not matter. Let Jesus continue to be your trainer, saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” as you power on toward the prize. Victory is ours, friend, fix your eyes on Him!

Author Bio:

Sharon Musgrove is a self-proclaimed sociologist. The opportunities opened to her, over the years, have led her on a fascinating journey observing human behavior. 

She has a diverse background in business, fitness and health industries. This background led her to a unique position writing curriculum and teaching for two private, Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both recovery programs served women primarily from the homeless community.

Sharon has traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the rural Maasai communities. She's been privileged to participate in Leadership camps for maturing young women. These annual camps have a mission of encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often abused young Maasai girls.

Easily identifying personally with the brokenness of the women she's served, Sharon now sees all people as needing more encouragement regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status. Within these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its transformative power has become her passion.

In her leisure time, Sharon enjoys her garden, health food, travel and a good story. She and her husband, Jeff, make their home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. They have two grown children. Currently, Sharon is writing her first Christian historical fiction novel utilizing her study, experience, and understanding of self-destructive behaviors.

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