Living for Christ in a fallen world is hard.
Search the whole of Scripture for metaphors and analogies comparing the Christian life to something easy like a picnic or a leisurely stroll around the lake and you’ll come up empty-handed.
What you will find, however, are comparisons to fighting (1 Timothy 6:12), to warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20), and to running (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The book of Hebrews was written to formerly Jewish new believers and was encouraging them to press on by faith in the Christian life, even as it became difficult. To drive this message home, the writer compares the Christian life to running a race, and he tells them how they can run this race with endurance:
In Hebrews 12:1 we read:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
This is such a great metaphor. Running a race is an active process, not a passive one. It’s challenging. There’s a reason that the Christian life isn’t compared to a summer picnic or a quick stroll around the block.
A race is hard. And when you’re in it the race becomes your chief occupation as all other concerns fade to the background.
The same is true of the Christian life. We are to live in a determined pursuit of Christ; we cannot live as though passive, half-hearted devotion will get us closer to our goal of being more like Him. It is an active process, requiring the best of us. Living for Christ must be our chief occupation, set as the ultimate priority of our lives.