Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

Adult life might be described as an obstacle course. The adult race begins with a heavy dose of hormones, increases speed with a challenging mixture of responsibilities, maintains speed with urgent achievements, slows unwillingly with increasing physical weaknesses, and coasts to a stop with lots of remembrances [and perhaps a pinch of wondering about “what if”].

The ‘hormones’ can be responsible for temptations of poor judgment. The ‘mixture of responsibilities’ involves temptations coming from new relationships that irreversibly change existence. The ‘urgent responsibilities’ form temptations from the old ‘new’ awareness—the need for health insurance, the need for life insurance, the need for a higher education fund for the kids’ college experience, the need for retirement funds for the end of work life, the need for work success, the need to be competitive when you do not have the energy to compete, etc. Temptations from ‘physical weakness’ come from just plain wearing out—that is when you sing to yourself, “the old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.” The ‘remembrances’ give rise to the temptations of regret [the fact there are no “do overs” available to change any part of your past you do not like].

To think adult life was easy in any past time frame is deceitful. To say, “But they didn’t have to contend with ...” is misleading. Adult existence always has involved insecurity, uncertainty, and physical decline. Every time frame and circumstance had [has] its own forms of powerful temptations. The truth is that no adult “has it made.” Anyone who thinks that would likely not last long in a “has it made” situation.

The Christian commitment is not an easy commitment. It never has been. It never will be. He or she who expects it to become simple will only be disillusioned. Thankfully, we have a God so filled with mercy, grace, and forgiveness that our weaknesses never weary Him. He proved that is true and cared for all our needs in Jesus’ crucifixion. All we must do is ‘run the course,’ obstacles and all, to express our appreciation for what He did and what He continues to do in our forgiveness.

Thanks to what God did, everyone who runs the race with his or her eyes on Jesus is a winner—not because of what we do, but because of what God did for us. Never have you attended a victory celebration that can begin to compare to the victory celebration of praise when those in Christ are welcomed home to live with God!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 3 August 2006

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