Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… .
–Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
In 2016, Angela Duckworth published her research-based book Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. It instantly hit the New York Times bestseller list. Its popularity came from Duckworth’s theory that success isn’t defined so much by talent as it is by passion pursued with perseverance. Her ideas spurred dialogue about what it means to step into life with resilient patience.
In my mind, “stepping into life with resilient patience” is a great summary of Hebrews 12:1 and 2, and a helpful definition of endurance. It’s easy for me to whine, to indulge in self-pity, to succumb to discouragement. Yet quite clearly, the writer of Hebrews had a different vision of the inner life of a healthy, maturing believer. He reminds me that I’m not the first one to face terribly hard obstacles. Then he tells me exactly what to do: get rid of the weights and the sin. Next, he states the goal of running the race God has set in front of me. Then he tells me how to do this—by looking attentively at Jesus.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
–Philippians 1:6 ESV
ACTION: Do you have a person of enduring faith in your life? What most inspires you about their life with Christ? Consider writing an honest list of weights or sins that are slowing down your pursuit of God and the race He’s given you. What does it mean practically to keep your eyes on Jesus? How would your life change if you chose spiritual grit?
Note: I’ve referred to the writer of Hebrews as “he,” though we don’t know who wrote the book.