October 29, 2018

Hebrew 12:1-2..Wherefore seeing we also are encompassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and 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.

The Bible says “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8). When you run a race your mind is focused on the trophy. gold, silver or bronze. Nobody wants to run without winning. That is the reason we see people on the field breaking down and even crying after losing at the final round when the trophy is presented to the winner. It is always very painful to suffer loss. Therefore every thing we do here on the planet earth has a reward attached to it. I have witnessed many students crying with joy when they finally walked on the stage to receive their diploma certificate. I too was full of joy when I finished each degree and walked on the stage to receive my diploma. To get to that point was not an easy task, so many sleepless nights that we spent studying for exams or working on deadlines. Looking back on those uphill tasks, we would say at the end that it is worth all the effort we put in. The joy of getting out of school with degree and being able to find a good job that finally settled you down with a car, and  a comfortable place to live in, is worth all the price you would have to pay. All those who have gone through this would agree with me that it is worth it.

Just as our physical life is a race, our spiritual life is a race too. We are spirit beings, we came to this world one day that was assigned to us to be born, and then one day we will depart from this world on a day that has been also assigned to us.to die. The Bible is full of stories of good and bad people who came to this world, lived and died. Their stories were written for us to learn from. Those that lived and died in this generation whether they were good or bad people have also joined a cloud of witnesses that surrounded us. If we have to be truthful to ourselves we have enough witnesses from which we can decide not to fall into the same pit they fell into. In order not to make the same mistakes they made, we need to lay aside everything that put them into that situation they found themselves. Sin of covetousness, greediness, malice, lying, disobedience to God’s laws, pride, lovers of men, adultery, fornication, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, strife, seditions, wrath, heresies, emulations, murders, envyings, heresies, drunkenness, and so on (Galatians 5:19-21). should be a thing of the past.

The weight of sin will not allow us to run and get our reward, because they are a baggage that will hinder us from getting to the finished line. The sins listed are the works of the flesh and it is only the spirit of God that can help us to combat the fleshy desires. This is the reason why the scripture advises us to look unto Jesus, who is the author and the finisher of our faith. He also lived in this world fully as man and fully as God. He subjected his flesh under the control of His Father. When he was tempted by the devil, he combated the devil with the word of God, using “It is written” in His response to those areas where He was tempted,

For example the first problem that man encounters is FOOD. The sin of Adam in the garden of Eden was also in the area of eating the forbidden fruit. Once you are able to pass this test, you have conquered the flesh half way. “It is written that man doth not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The Book of Daniel gave us an example of a man like us who did not allow food to cause him to fall. He (Daniel) was determined not to defile himself with all the delicacies of the king’s food and he succeeded by controlling his appetite and craving so as to be used by God.

Joseph was an example of someone who overcame  the temptation of the flesh to commit adultery or fornication with his boss’s wife. He ran from the sin. This is another major area that devil has not only a foothold but a stronghold on mankind. Majority are falling into this trap and the world is becoming a war zone in this sexual assault. But Joseph did not fall into this trap and so it is possible to run from this sin before it becomes a weight that can prevent you from ending well. The third and another major area that causes a lot of problem is MONEY (pride of life). If you can overcome the temptation of not running after the things of this world, you will definitely finish the race and end well. Money has caused the downfall of many people because of their cravings for the things of this earth that will perish. Samuel was a good example of someone who did not fall for this desire despite the fact that he occupied a very prominent position in the history of Israel. At the end he called the whole Israel together asked them whose ox has he taken or who has given him bribe (etc) to come forward and testify, and that he would restore it back, but there was no one.

Therefore brothers and sisters, the race set before us is doable if we can watch closely the path that can lead us to our desired destination which is heaven and make every effort to run away from what will prevent us from getting there. There is joy awaiting those that can endure all the hardship, and or suffering on the way to this beautiful place. It is better to endure than to enjoy here and then end up in a place of torment .May the LORD have mercy on us by filling us with his Holy Spirit which had helped many witnesses to overcome the flesh and ended well. We need the Spirit of God to be in us to guide and teach us, and help us not to stumble. We also need to be prayerful like those three examples and also like our Lord Jesus though was fully God but still devoted His time to pray to His Father. When we pray we will  be strengthened to walk all the way without looking back but continue to gaze on Jesus who promised never to leave us nor forsake us. It is well with you all, Amen.

Prayer…LORD we know you are coming back soon, we are praying for the strength to run and finish well like Paul and other apostles before us. Let this be our portion in Jesus Name, Amen.

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