“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
Perhaps unsurprisingly for somebody who has been living in or around Cambridge for nearly 6 years now, I’ve fallen in love with cycling. And in December when my wife and I moved closer to Cambridge, I was able to cycle work again. No more traffic jams on the A14, instead a blissful 5 miles down a dedicated cycle path. Sure some days it can be windy in the fens and the winter was cold, summer still brings rain, but on the whole, I am loving my new(ish) commute. Except maybe the day I fell off.
It was few months ago now and right at the end of my ride as I prepared to turn off the busway, I went tumbling; luckily I was slowing and I managed to escape with just some cuts and bruises. Many things contributed to this but none more so than I wasn’t riding my own ride, or to use the biblical parallel I wasn’t running my race.
That day somebody had decided the wind wasn’t much fun so they had taken refuge close behind me, sticking to my back wheel as close as they could. This made me very uncomfortable so I decided to shake him off. Except I couldn’t, so I pushed harder and harder and by the time I came to slow down I was too preoccupied with the guy behind me, I lost balance and fell off.
I immediately realised my folly and was reminded of the great wisdom of the writer of Hebrews, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”.
Life is full of distractions, situations, stuff, people who would, intentionally or not, seek to pull our attention away from Jesus. It could be as simple as the Instagram stories that distract you from your bible study, or something more complex a tragedy or illness in the family that makes you ask God what is going on. Whatever it is, to fulfill our potential, to live a peaceful and love filled life we have to fix our eyes on Jesus.
I remember what is was like to live life without any notion of living for God or living with my eyes fixed on him. Back in 2011 before I was a Christian, I had by the world’s standards a good life. But I had days when I would wondered, what am I doing here? I would usually push the feeling back down with thoughts like “I have a great family I love”, “I love my job” or “I’m a good person, I just need to keep being a good person, be nice to people”.
However the truth was I was directionless, all my life my plan was do well in school to get into Uni, to get a job so that I can go and watch Barcelona all the time. Now I was working and had the money to go to Barcelona it just didn’t seem enough, and I knew it could never be enough.
At this time I began to explore Christianity, my sister and mum both went to church so it was always in my world in someway but I had never taken it seriously for me. Something was different now though.
My mind was blown when I began exploring Christianity and I discovered the central message, “ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Could it really be true that over 2000 years ago Jesus came to earth, lived perfectly and died a criminal’s death so that if one day I or anyone wanted forgiveness from God for all our mistakes we could have it?! Yes. Yes it can, and it is, as Romans 5:8 puts it this way, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
The course of my life was forever changed, not every moment is a holy moment and sometimes I get distracted by a tailgating cyclist or life’s circumstances but I am determined to always come back to fix my eyes on Jesus, the one who gave everything for me, before I even cared, and too this day loves me with an unconditional grace. Life with eyes focused on Jesus can be scary, it requires perseverance, it can bring opposition but truly it’s the only way to live. The peace and comfort that comes from knowing the same God who created the universe loves me unconditionally is something that cannot be matched. And let’s face it the world needs to be a better place, we need more love, more compassion, more grace and that is what Jesus is all about. So we set our eyes on him, we chase after the vision to be like him and hope that we can bring some of God’s kingdom to this earth. Never forgetting we are forgiven and we loved.