40.Day.Week5

JULY 26

THE HUMAN ‘RACE’

Hebrews 12:1-2 | 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 2 looking to Jesus, the pioneer 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.

God became like us so that we might become like God (ATHANASIUS). The human life is a race. The goal is to become human in God’s image — like Jesus.

Consider the Crowd. The sports hub is packed with witnesses. We are on the pitch. The heroes of faith surround us. These are all victorious athletes. They are the exact opposite of the impatient generation that died in the desert (HEBREWS 3:17). There are no hyped-up cheerleaders among them. No flabby fans. No quitters. They have all run their race and finished well. Their outstanding track record bears witness to us and spurs us on toward the goal.

Count the Cost. All excess weight must be stripped away. The sin that wraps around us like a wet blanket must go. This race is not to the swift but to the steadfast who free themselves from every encumbrance, and run the race with patience.

Stay on Course. The race is marked out for us (HEBREWS 12:1). Let’s not try to be clever and take shortcuts and so disqualify ourselves. Only by staying on track and enduring to the end can we be assured of reaching the goal.

Look to the Champion. Hebrews 12:2 literally says to look away from other things and focus exclusively on Jesus. He has won the race. Now, as our Trainer and Coach, he draws our attention to the finish line. He draws us to himself. He is the goal of the human ‘race’. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Carry your Cross. Jesus looked beyond the pain and shame of his Cross to the joy set before him. Not a cheap gold medal. But the joy of completing his course and returning to the Father after being rejected, disgraced, spit on, and tortured. That same joy awaits us. We do not suffer in vain.

Await the Crown. Since time began, Jesus is the first and only person to achieve God’s full design for humanity. He left his throne as the Son of God. He returned as the Son of Man, clothed in human flesh. Now, crowned with glory and honour, he draws us all to himself. He lifts our humanity to the heights of his throne (GRAHAM KENDRICK).

Consider the crowd. Count the cost. Stay the course. Look to the Champion. Endure the Cross. The crown will follow.

We do not run in vain.

THE HUMAN ‘RACE’

Hebrews 12:1-2 | 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 2 looking to Jesus, the pioneer 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.

God became like us so that we might become like God (ATHANASIUS). The human life is a race. The goal is to become human in God’s image — like Jesus.

Consider the Crowd. The sports hub is packed with witnesses. We are on the pitch. The heroes of faith surround us. These are all victorious athletes. They are the exact opposite of the impatient generation that died in the desert (HEBREWS 3:17). There are no hyped-up cheerleaders among them. No flabby

 

JULY 26

fans. No quitters. They have all run their race and finished well. Their outstanding track record bears witness to us and spurs us on toward the goal.

Count the Cost. All excess weight must be stripped away. The sin that wraps around us like a wet blanket must go. This race is not to the swift but to the steadfast who free themselves from every encumbrance, and run the race with patience.

Stay on Course. The race is marked out for us (HEBREWS 12:1). Let’s not try to be clever and take shortcuts and so disqualify ourselves. Only by staying on track and enduring to the end can we be assured of reaching the goal.

Look to the Champion. Hebrews 12:2 literally says to look away from other things and focus exclusively on Jesus. He has won the race. Now, as our Trainer and Coach, he draws our attention to the finish line. He draws us to himself. He is the goal of the human ‘race’. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Carry your Cross. Jesus looked beyond the pain and shame of his Cross to the joy set before him. Not a cheap gold medal. But the joy of completing his course and returning to the Father after being rejected, disgraced, spit on, and tortured. That same joy awaits us. We do not suffer in vain.

Await the Crown. Since time began, Jesus is the first and only person to achieve God’s full design for humanity. He left his throne as the Son of God. He returned as the Son of Man, clothed in human flesh. Now, crowned with glory and honour, he draws us all to himself. He lifts our humanity to the heights of his throne (GRAHAM KENDRICK).

Consider the crowd. Count the cost. Stay the course. Look to the Champion. Endure the Cross. The crown will follow.

We do not run in vain.

Prayer Track

■ Gear up. Consider the crowd of faithful finishers, including some of Singapore’s own heroes of faith who blazed the way and now cheer us on: Thank God for Dr Benjamin Chew, a Gentle Warrior who well deserves the unofficial but affectionate title of Patriarch and Archbishop (JAMES HUDSON TAYLOR III, BISHOP MOSES TAY). We honour him as the Chairman of the 1978 Billy Graham Crusade, the most significant milestone in the Singapore Church to date. Thank God for Elder Goh Ewe Kheng, a quintessential Christian businessman who founded a denomination and influenced the Singapore Church in quiet but phenomenal ways (ARMOUR PUBLISHING). Thank God for Pastor Fred Seaward, an indefatigable church planter whose giant footprints are all over Singapore, evidenced by the presence of many Assemblies of God churches (PETER LUI). Thank God for Pastor Rick Seaward who lived and breathed world missions. A modern-day apostle who believed that Singapore is God’s Antioch of Antiochs to help every nation do its part to complete world evangelisation (LAWRENCE KHONG). Thank God for Dr Bobby Sng, a historian, a pioneer in student movements, a Bible expositor who kept an eye on the prevailing ideas of his day and critiqued them in the light of Scripture (IMPACT MAGAZINE). Thank God for Elder Thio Gim Hock, a business tycoon who risked life and limb to preach the Gospel to Unreached Peoples in restricted countries controlled by extremists.

Look far. These all finished well because they focused exclusively on Christ and his mission. They counted the cost. They bore their cross. They stayed the course. May we emulate their remarkable lives and carry their work forward from generation to generation for God’s glory!

■ Sober up. Consider the weights and sins that can trip us up and throw us off course: Idolising self. Boasting in self. Chasing after worthless idols. Worshipping mammon. Bashing government. Dishonouring parents. Neglecting family. Undermining church leadership. Winking at ingratitude. Finding fault with everything. Shifting blame. Holding grudges. Bearing false witness. Peddling lies and half truths. Bad-mouthing those over us. Bullying those under us. Circulating gossip. Betraying trust. Fuelling division. Throwing fits of anger. Turning a blind eye to injustice. Ignoring people in need. Discriminating against foreigners. Despising migrant workers. Defrauding workers. Exploiting employees. Inciting prejudice and xenophobia. Consuming raunchy arts and entertainment. Engaging in pornography, pre-marital sex, adultery. Condoning homosexual practices.

Look within. What else? Search your heart. Repent. When God exposes personal sin, it’s never vague. Strip away every vice entangling you, every sin you tolerate and live with, every weakness you dress up in respectable garb. Leave no stone unturned.

Prayer Track

■ Gear up. Consider the crowd of faithful finishers, including some of Singapore’s own heroes of faith who blazed the way and now cheer us on: Thank God for Dr Benjamin Chew, a Gentle Warrior who well deserves the unofficial but affectionate title of Patriarch and Archbishop (JAMES HUDSON TAYLOR III, BISHOP MOSES TAY). We honour him as the Chairman of the 1978 Billy Graham Crusade, the most significant milestone in the Singapore Church to date. Thank God for Elder Goh Ewe Kheng, a quintessential Christian businessman who founded a denomination and influenced the Singapore Church in quiet but phenomenal ways (ARMOUR PUBLISHING). Thank God for Pastor Fred Seaward, an indefatigable church planter whose giant footprints are all over Singapore, evidenced by the presence of many Assemblies of God churches (PETER LUI). Thank God for Pastor Rick Seaward who lived and breathed world missions. A modern-day apostle who believed that

Singapore is God’s Antioch of Antiochs to help every nation do its part to complete world evangelisation (LAWRENCE KHONG). Thank God for Dr Bobby Sng, a historian, a pioneer in student movements, a Bible expositor who kept an eye on the prevailing ideas of his day and critiqued them in the light of Scripture (IMPACT MAGAZINE). Thank God for Elder Thio Gim Hock, a business tycoon who risked life and limb to preach the Gospel to Unreached Peoples in restricted countries controlled by extremists.

Look far. These all finished well because they focused exclusively on Christ and his mission. They counted the cost. They bore their cross. They stayed the course. May we emulate their remarkable lives and carry their work forward from generation to generation for God’s glory!

■ Sober up. Consider the weights and sins that can trip us up and throw us off course: Idolising self. Boasting in self. Chasing after worthless idols. Worshipping mammon. Bashing

government. Dishonouring parents. Neglecting family. Undermining church leadership. Winking at ingratitude. Finding fault with everything. Shifting blame. Holding grudges. Bearing false witness. Peddling lies and half truths. Bad-mouthing those over us. Bullying those under us. Circulating gossip. Betraying trust. Fuelling division. Throwing fits of anger. Turning a blind eye to injustice. Ignoring people in need. Discriminating against foreigners. Despising migrant workers. Defrauding workers. Exploiting employees. Inciting prejudice and xenophobia. Consuming raunchy arts and entertainment. Engaging in pornography, pre-marital sex, adultery. Condoning homosexual practices.

Look within. What else? Search your heart. Repent. When God exposes personal sin, it’s never vague. Strip away every vice entangling you, every sin you tolerate and live with, every weakness you dress up in respectable garb. Leave no stone unturned.