Have you ever looked at someone else’s life and thought of yourself as inferior because of all that person had accomplished? Maybe the success that that individual had in his or her professional life was beyond what you could comprehend, or perhaps a personal victory caused you to feel substandard.
It can be tempting to look to the successes and lives of others as a metric for our own worth and value. Scripture paints a different view of how we are to go about our daily lives.
In the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, the author recounts the faith of many Old Testament saints. Of Enoch it is said that because of his faithfulness he did not see death but was taken to heaven, of Noah that he became an heir of righteousness, and of Abraham that he had descendants as many as the stars in the heavens and the grains of sand on the seashore. Considering the faithfulness of these individuals may lead us to ponder our inadequacy. The author of Hebrews does not stop with recounting the faithful lives of those who have gone before, rather he orients our outlook.
Hebrews 12:1-2 states “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” (all the folks talked about in the previous chapter),
“let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Lay aside every weight and sin which clings closely. This includes the weight of comparison. The thought that we can never measure up to another person’s standards.
And let us run with endurance. Persevere. Keep going. Press on toward the finish line. Pace yourself for the remainder of the journey.
That is set before us. This should make us so excited. Run the race set before us. Not the race of the heroes of faith found in Hebrews. Not the race set before your family. Not the race set before your friends. Run the race set before you. That race is different for each person and the results should and will look different for you than those around you, and that is ok! We are not measured by how we complete another person’s course, but rather how we complete our own race.
As you come to the end of another semester remember the following three things:
- Your race is unique.
- You are not in competition with those around you.
- Pace yourself so that you might persevere and complete the race.