“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.” (Hebrew 12:1b NIV)
How determined would you be to run a race with perseverance if the prize for finishing the race was your life? This was exactly the case with John Colter.
John Colter was the original mountain man. He was one of the crew in the Lewis and Clark expedition. When it was completed, John decided to continue to live in and explore the western wilderness.
On one of his outings, Blackfeet Indians captured him and his friend, John Potts. Potts was killed trying to escape. They decided to use Colter for sport. He was stripped and given a head start. After several miles he had out run all but one brave who was gaining on him. He stopped and spun to face his pursuer. Startled, the brave hurriedly threw his spear and missed. Colter grabbed the Indian’s spear and killed him.
Colter made it to a river and hid inside a beaver lodge. That night he swam downriver. Over the following eleven days he climbed, walked, and ran – buck-naked – the one hundred fifty miles to the trader’s fort at Big Horn. John Colter had escaped with his life. He also became an instant legend.
The Christian life is often described as a race in the New Testament (1Cor. 9:24-26; Gal. 2:2b, 5:7; 2Tim. 4:7). We are encouraged to run the race with endurance and to run as so to win the prize (Hb. 12:1, 1Cor. 9:24).
However, sometimes we get lazy in the race because we forget that our enemy, the devil, is pursuing us and wants to cut us off and destroy our lives (Jn. 10:10a; 1Pt. 5:8). He tries to weigh us down with the cares of this world and entangle us with our own sin. This is why we’re exhorted to throw off anything that hinders our running and pursue Christ as if our lives depended on it. The reality is that our lives do depend on it.
So, children of God, let’s become legends in the annals of heaven! Let’s strip off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that would entangle us, and let’s run our race with perseverance. For, Christ IS our life (Col. 3:4)! And, HE is our prize!
© Paul R Downing