"Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls" (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message).
What would you think of the runner who gave up when faced with the first obstacle in a race? That hurdle is meant to lift him upward―to inspire him to greater ability and not pull him back. What about your life and the race you are running for Jesus Christ? What is your reaction when you face hurdles in your Christian walk? Do you allow them to lift you to greater heights of faith in Him, or defeat you before you reach the finish line? Life will always present hurdles. It is what you do with those hurdles that inspire life or death.
What is your hurdle at this moment? Keep your eyes on Jesus. Learn about how He was able to finish His race. He never lost sight of the promise at the end. He overcame the hurdles in His way―shame, ridicule, the cross. Nothing He faced defeated His race to the finish. No weapon that came against Him defeated Him. When you face your hurdles remember the hatred that Jesus faced. Remember His commitment and obedience to stay the course. He held out to the end of His race for your sake.
Running your race in Jesus Christ takes spiritual exercise. You must be “stretched to the maximum” for the greatest benefit! That involves pain. With exercise that pain lessens, and muscle mass forms. You have greater strength to overcome each obstacle. When you feel you have lost your wind and can't jump another hurdle, the Holy Spirit grants a second wind that carries you farther along. Just as a runner experiences well-being from his body producing endorphins, when you are “stretched to the maximum” you receive spiritual endorphins from the Holy Spirit that bring peace. Hurdles should stretch and drive you to His Word and to Him in prayer. Learning who He is and what He overcame for you “shoots adrenaline into your soul”. Obstacles then have the ability to inspire and not defeat you.