Running the Race

February 23, 2021

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy… Hebrews 12:14 NIV

In our ever so obvious humanity and self-focus, it is easy to assume that our priorities must be God’s priorities. After all, we love Him so much and He loves us so deeply—why wouldn’t that be true? However, as life plays out we routinely respect our opinions more than those of others, put our desires first, and assume we are the ones on page with God. When we have His heart, having peace and relationships of love between us and others will score much higher on the importance meter than making sure our opinions and perspectives win.

In our guidebook for following Jesus well, the New Testament letters, we are repeatedly urged to put God’s priorities first, and they are spelled out plainly. We are reminded that our relationship with God is not stand alone. The health of our relationship with Him is highly dependent on our relationships with others. Every New Testament writer follows the lead of the teachings and life of Jesus that holiness before God is inextricably tied to our love for and relationships with others. This urging from the Hebrew writer is translated in the Passion Translation with descriptive words that make the point impossible to miss OR misunderstand: “In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness…” (Hebrews 12:14).

In order for us to faithfully live out that verse, we have to be convinced that no one is better than me, and I am better than no one else. No personality type is “the one to have,” no gifting sets me above anyone else. I will need to concentrate on understanding rather than competing. I will believe that everyone has a story and a perspective, and when I am willing to listen and learn what that story and perspective is, I will enable myself to live in peace. Then, when I live in peace, I am unentangled to run toward holiness.

  • Picture a runner in a race—the prize is huge, and he desperately wants to win. But as he runs toward the finish line, he has neglected to free himself from ropes and cords that were in the starting box. They are entangled around his ankles and calves; his feet are tripping. He makes a few strides, but then he drops to his knees. His stumbles are obvious, and you become aware that unless he stops and untangles himself from these cords, he will never be able to finish the race. That’s an apt picture of you and me. We often try to quit habits like smoking or some other thing we believe is hindering our race toward the holiness God desires. We keep stumbling. It would do us well to look at the tangles around our feet. Our unpeaceful relationships may be hindering our race. That’s what’s most important to our Father. Work with God so you can understand others and live in peace, then watch your progress!