There has been a murder. Detectives are searching for suspects. What is one of the first things they would consider? How about, “Does he have a motive?”
People typically kill only for a reason. The same is true for why people live as they do. There is some motive for their methods, for their lifestyle.
What motivates a person who runs a marathon? A desire to be physically fit? A longing to lose weight? Hoping to improve health? Mental instability? Anybody who is driven to run 26.2 miles must have strong reasons to run. If not, fatigue and pain will cause her to give up and quit long before the finish.
The Christian race is a long-distance event. “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” the Hebrew writer said. For Christians to successfully run with perseverance, we must have strong reasons to run. Without strong motivation, we’ll give up and quit when the going gets hard. And it will get difficult.
What’s the motive to keep moving in the Christian race? Consider these reasons to keep running as described by the writer of Hebrews to some weary Christians.
1. Confidence: Other religions offer to help you move toward perfection. Christ gives you his perfection. “Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant” (7:22). “By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy” (10:14). This is a race you can be sure that you can win if you’ll just finish.
2. Closeness to the Creator: Other religions have priests. Christ makes you a priest. “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus” (10:19), “let us draw near to God” (v. 22). You won’t run as an outsider if you’re in Christ. You can have full, direct access to God himself.
3. Community: Christianity is not a solo race. Few, if any, endurance runners train by themselves. You need someone to encourage you and to hold you accountable. “Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,” Christians are told (10:24). Do “not give up meeting together” but “encourage one another” (v. 25). Those who follow Jesus run this race together and cheer each other on to the finish line.
The Christian life can be a long, and sometimes tiring, race. The hills are steep, and the sun beats down. But no matter how hard the path, we have powerful reasons to keep running.