In the race of life we can find ourselves feeling lost and unfulfilled. We can often trace the root of that to distraction. We get caught up with looking at the other runners, the scenery or even inward. To run the race well, we will need to focus forward.
Paul ran his race well. The Apostle had a major conversion from a religious elitist to a radical follower of Christ. The early church leaders feared Paul because he had so intensely persecuted the church. However, God sent two to Paul to lead him into his destiny.
First God sent Ananias to Paul after he was blinded by the vision on the road to Damascus. Ananias trusted the leading of God’s spirit even though he knew that Paul had sent many Christians to prison and their death. Ananias prayed for Paul and Paul recovered his sight. Ananias’ name means grace.
After this Paul fearlessly preached Christ Jesus as the risen Messiah to the point where he was almost killed; but escaped and made his way to Jerusalem. Paul again felt opposition from the church who did not believe his conversion was true. God sent Barnabas to Paul to advocate for him. Barnabas convinced the church that Paul was sincere.
After a time of success in Paul’s ministry he was threatened again and went back home to Tarsus. Later Barnabas remembered Paul and went to Tarsus to retrieve him and take him to Antioch, where the two led the new churches. Barnabas’ name means encouragement.
God sent Paul grace and encouragement. As we focus forward on our beautiful savior Jesus we find grace for our journey and encouragement for our souls despite outward circumstances. As we stay focused on our lane we will step into all God has designed for us to be and do.
Hebrews 12:2-3 - Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!