The Race is Worth Enduring

January 6th 2009

Nicknames are now what attach us to the online world rather then to our grandmothers.  It used to be that your nickname was something you dread, that word that grandma called you and you would hate if your friends knew what it was!  Now almost everyone has one and they share it regularly with those in the world.  Some of us have one we have held onto for years, and some people change theirs constantly.  I get asked now and then “why do you have that nickname?”

My online nick is “race_12_1″.  I have had people think I run marathons, sprint race, all sorts of things.  Running that kind of race has nothing to do with it, though running the hundred yard dash in 12.1 seconds would be pretty cool!  In 1996 when the internet was really taking off and people were first choosing “nicks”, as they were becoming known,  I had to choose a nick to start chatting online.  There is bible verse I just loved, one that spoke of a race,  running it with perseverance, with a goal like no other race we could run.  So from that I formed my nick.  Hebrews 12:1-2 says:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  (Heb 12:1-2 NIV)

I had no idea what I would face later in my race, or the perseverance I would need to get through the trial I faced beginning 9 years later.  In the fall of 1996 I chose this nick, and in the fall of 2005 I got sick.  For 9 years I had used a nick that ingrained in me a verse that I needed to hear over and over again for the following 3.  During that time I learned a few more verses.  Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:12-14 NIV)  Another one is James 1:2-3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (Jam 1:2-3 NIV)

Hebrews 12:1-2 is where my nick originated, and then from there I add on Phillipians 3:12-14 and James 1:2-3 to determine that no matter what we endure, no matter where our race might take us, and no matter what might come down our track in the future, we can experience joy while we run it.  Beyond that even more, the race is worth enduring, because of the goal for which we have set our eyes on.  If our eyes are set on the author and perfecter of our faith then what better prize do we need?  None!  Though I have not yet taken hold of it, like Paul, I press on toward that goal, because the promises of God are firm, and He is faithful to fulfill them.

So, the race is worth enduring because the ultimate prize is better then anything we can obtain on our own.  I have been running, and I have been molded, and I have been sent through trial.  I will continue to press on toward that goal, to run the race, to keep using the nick I chose in the fall of 1996 becuase I chose it for a reason.  I chose it because I believed what Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us, that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross, and now sits at the right hand of the Father.  What joy before Him?  He was going to be with the Father again!  And someday will we because of what Christ has done for us.  That is why the race is worth enduring.

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