“God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, 8 the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? 9 We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? 10 While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. 11 At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God. 12 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! 13 Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!” (Hebrews 12:7-13, The Message)
I like the Message translation of this passage. It’s a good reminder of the race we are in and that everything that comes our way, good or bad, God is educating us. Everything is training and experience.
I especially want to focus on verses 12 and 13. We are living in a day when it’s not time to be sitting around on our hands or dragging our feet. God is looking for long distance runners who are in it for the long haul. The key in all of this is the last two sentences; “Help each other out. And run for it!” This is a race we are in but we aren’t racing against each other, we are racing with each other. We are all on the same team, our lanes may be a little different and the difficulty of the race may vary from person to person but the point is that we need to help each other out.
When you see a Christian brother or sister struggling, encourage them to not sit around on their hands and drag their feet, help clear the path so no one trips and falls, help each other out and run for it!
Is it always easy? It sure isn’t but that’s why we need each other, we need to understand we are in this race together and everything we deal with is for our training and experience and we need to use that training and experience to help others along the race.
I don’t know where you’re at, if you’re running this race strongly than look for those around you that need your encouragement and run alongside them for a while. I remember in school when we would run for training and there were times when others would fall behind. We didn’t all run ahead of them and make them run alone, we slowed down and ran beside them and encouraged them to finish the run they had started. We, as Christians, need to do the same thing. When we see those falling behind, let’s slow up and encourage them to keep going, to keep running the race. Let’s help each other out and encourage them to run for it!
Maybe you’re on the opposite side, maybe you’re struggling with running this race. If so, I want to encourage you not to give up. Maybe you’ve been that one sitting around on your hands and dragging your feet, don’t feel bad we’ve all been there. Go ahead and get up and begin running again. Get some good strong runners alongside you who are in it for the long haul, let them help you out and run for it! Even if you’ve dropped out of the race, you can get back in.
This is the day when we need each and every one of us running strongly together, so go ahead, run for it!