The race of the world is a meaningless race

The Word of God in the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of a race (in the modern translation – “distance” (translation “Word of Life”) or “race” (translation of V.N.) which we Christians should cover:

Hebrews 12:1-2 (Word of Life translation):
“Therefore, let’s … let’s patiently cover the distance measured out for us. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the beginning and end of our faith. For the sake of future joy, He endured death on the cross, humiliation and disgrace, and now sits on the right side of God’s throne.

The distance of faith we have to run is the distance we have to run patiently with our eyes on Jesus. This is a race whose goal and end is Jesus Christ. This is a Christian run. From Paul’s words here, besides this, we can learn the following: not all of us who call ourselves Christians are running this race. Otherwise, why then this exhortation: “Therefore, LET’S … cover”? The question I want to ask all of us today is: what distance do we run? Is there any other distance?

Pointless race

I found this term in a very good Christian book that I am currently reading. It’s called “The Man in the Mirror”. Parallel to the distance of a Christian, there is another distance – the distance of this world, the ultimate goal of which is not Jesus Christ, and the views of those who overcome it are not focused on Him. On the contrary, it is a distance with different empty “goals”. It is a race for financial and career success, self-realization, more material possessions, bigger and better homes, more income, more power and influence. This is a race for the sake of “a good, beautiful and temperate life.” Millions of people run this distance every day, flooding hypermarkets, filling their homes with all sorts of different things they rarely use. In this race, people run into debt in order to satisfy their desire for a “good, beautiful and temperate life,” a life of “financial well-being and personal (self-interested) peace.” What awaits them at the finish line? Emptiness, loss of direction and stress. Shopping has become common activity among Christians. We go shopping, and often by that we don’t mean buying what we need, but getting the joy we think there is in buying things.

So there are two races: the first is the race of the Christian, the race of faith, in which they run with their eyes on Jesus. This is the way of living in obedience to the Word of God. This distance is completely opposite to another distance, the distance of materialism, consumerism and secularization*, the distance of this world. However, while we as believers should be more aware, we often fall prey to secularization, materialism, and consumerism. You see, secularism prevails in this world, the religion of godless humanists who have replaced our values ​​with counterfeits. And many of us have converted to their faith. We hear constant appeals from TV screens, Internet pages, on the news, from the lips of colleagues at work … the gospel of consumerism and secularism is being preached. And many of us Christians believe these calls! The damage to the Gospel message also contributes to this, and as a result, the price of following Christ no longer seems so high. For many of us who claim to be Christians, the God we believe in is not at all the one the Bible says He is. We believe that God is like a grandfather who pampers us with gifts. We believe in a God who loves and gives, but not in a Holy God. Therefore, we begin to expect from God not only the fulfillment of our own needs (which is quite justified), but also help in this meaningless race. We need both God and this world, but neither is possible. James says:

James 4:4
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

It is impossible to run two distances at the same time. You cannot serve two masters. You will have to choose one of the two and the first step should be to realize which race I am running. Yes, we go to church every Sunday. But in itself this does not mean anything. Many of us go to church without knowing what we are doing it for and on Monday we don’t remember what the Sunday sermon was about. I believe that the best indicator of what our race is like is what our hearts are saying or rather what the Spirit of God is saying in our heart. Do we feel the fullness of the power and life of God, or the emptiness and loss of direction? Drawing closer to God brings life. Approaching the world brings death. Which God do you believe? The one who is only kind to you, always pampers you with gifts and blessings? And what will you do if God does not meet your requirements, if the prayer remains unanswered and the desire is not fulfilled? Maybe you are in debt, in the grip of the hydra of materialism, consumerism and secularism? What would you do if being a Christian would cost you so much more? If you had to stand up for your faith at work or in society?

God is the only source of life. Jesus said that those who seek life will lose it, and those who lose their lives will find it. Many of us are trying to save our lives. For many of us, our own life, our own “I”, is the most important thing. Many of us try to get satisfaction from going to the store or accumulating things or riches. Following Jesus means losing your life to God, submitting yourself to God, looking at Jesus and then realizing that Jesus is LIFE! In the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord said that His people, “they have forsaken the fountain of living water, and dug out for themselves broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jeremiah 2:13). Only God is the source of living water. He is the only One from whom life and peace come and those of us who have ever been close to Him know this very well. If God seems very far away, maybe it’s because our race is wrong? Have we bought into a false gospel? That is how it is. The further we keep running in the wrong direction, the further we will be from God. But there is a return path. As one of the prophets said, “Let us search out and examine our ways, And turn back to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40). Following the example of the prodigal son, let’s come to our senses and return to the Father’s house. In the parable of the sower, three of the four categories are people who call themselves Christians. However, only one of the three, the last one, is those who race into eternal life. The other two are running in the wrong direction. The second category includes those who are believers while the cost is low. As soon as persecution for the gospel arises and the price rises, they fall away. The purpose of their race is to win the approval of this world. Another category is those whose faith has been choked out by the cares and riches of this world. They are “too busy”. They try their best to get rich and live a happy and beautiful life according to worldly standards. This goal blinds them so much that in the end they will not bear fruit. These are worldly “Christians” running the distance of this world. Neither of these two categories bear fruit. Only the last category is those who bear fruit and whose race is the race of faith. We see the same thought in the writings of Paul. Demas, a man whom Paul mentions many times in his epistles, eventually left Paul and went into the world (2 Timothy 4:10). Demas continued to run the distance, deviating, however, from the final goal. He continued his race – but only the race of this world, not Christs race. What race are you running? Millions of us are running in the wrong direction. Millions of us need to repent and return. For millions of us, the time has come to stop accepting inner emptiness and turn to the source of life and truth: to the Living God as HE is revealed in His Word, the Bible. Millions of us have bought into the gospel of consumerism, materialism, and secularism and are now running for “a beautiful, blessed and problem-free life.” Millions of us have not believed in the God of the Bible, but in a good grandfather who sends blessings. Millions of us would stop following God if He did not fulfill some of their very important personal desires. When Jesus died, His only property was the clothing that the Roman soldiers shared among themselves. Today, many of us will need a truck to transport tons of the goods we have accumulated. What gospel do you believe in? In the gospel of Jesus Christ or the gospel of materialism, secularism and consumerism?

Lamentations 3:40
“Let us try and search our ways, and turn to the Lord”

Hebrews 12:2 (Word of Life translation):
“Therefore, let’s … let’s patiently cover the distance measured for us. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the beginning and end of our faith. For the sake of future joy, He endured death on the cross, humiliation and disgrace, and now sits on the right side of God’s throne.

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