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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

The Book of Hebrews - Faith Looking to Jesus

Hebrews 11:29-12:3

Eric Liddell was the Scottish Olympic runner brought to popular attention by the film Chariots of Fire (If you haven’t seen this film, I encourage taking the time to watch it.). Liddell was a sprinter in the 1924 Olympics who was certain to win the gold in the 100 meters. However, he refused to compete in the 100 meters because it would have required him to run on a Sunday. Instead, he ran the 400 meters, which was his much weaker race. Yet he ended up winning the gold medal.

Although hailed as a hero now, Eric was not viewed as such in Great Britain when he decided not to run. He was mocked and ridiculed for his faith. Most people didn’t realize that he was running a much more important race than the one in the Olympics – he was running the race of the Christian life.

This week we are concluding Hebrews 11, which reads like a whirlwind of people and events. Our author gives us the sense of rushing toward Hebrews 12, pressing us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we run the Christian race.

Highlighting the purpose of Hebrews 11, Richard Phillips writes, “It has been rightly said that the story of our lives is only finished in the lives of other people, others we have loved and led, influenced and inspired. The same can be said of the great eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, that it is only finished in the chapter that follows, in which the example of these heroes of the faith reaches out to us.”

The goal of Hebrews 11 was not mere history but exhortation. This is why Hebrews 12 begins with the key word ‘therefore,’ demanding that we deal with the implications of what we have learned, applying the lessons of faith to our own lives.

God has marked out a race for us. He has laid out a course for our lives. There are places to go, things we are to do, challenges we are to confront. We do not know where this course winds on its way to heaven, nor frankly, is it important for us to know. Our calling is to ‘run with endurance the race that is set before us’ (12:1). We are to persevere in faith wherever God should lead us.

What is the purpose or goal of your life? Is it to attain a certain standard of wealth? Is it to rise to a position of influence and power? Is it to be popular or to enjoy maximum leisure and fun? These are the ways our unbelieving society defines success, but not how a Christian should think of his or her life.

“How liberating it is for the Christian,” writes Richard Phillips, “to realize that his or her true calling is the race of faith in the living God: to persevere in the various settings where God will place you, to hold fast your convictions and your obedience to God in different settings and seasons of life, to grow in grace and to glorify God through faith all the way to the end of your life.” He concludes, “This is our victory: not worldly standards of success but enduring in faith to the end.”

How are you doing in the race of the Christian life? Join us this Sunday as we discover a key insight to persevering in this race. Remember, the runner, Eric Liddell? He sensed a call to China as a missionary. His family was heavily involved in this mission venture. In fact, one of his sisters served on the mission field. She thought Eric should drop his running to go to the field. He responded to her that he was called to China, but first he must run (He had been training for the 1924 Olympics.). He would tell her, ‘When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.’ Do you ‘feel God’s pleasure’ as you run the race of the Christian life. See you Sunday.


For His Glory,

Pastor Wayne



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