This is a reflection on persevering, the theme for this years’ National Gathering.

‘Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (Hebrews 12:2). I am drawn to and challenged by the idea of running with perseverance in the race that Jesus has marked out for us. I wonder, am I running or walking? Am I on the course marked out for us, or am I taking a more circuitous route? There are wonderful encouragements in Hebrews 11 and 12 to help us stay on the course Jesus gives us.

The race Jesus marks out for us is a map of kingdom priorities and values rather than destinations and directions. I think in terms of growing in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and living out the great commandments (Mark 12:30-31) and the great commission (Matthew 28:19-20). Taken together, our race is about being transformed and playing our part under God as He saves and transforms others. We are called to be part of these eternal purposes.

Like running in a physical race, we need to set aside things that slow us down or trip us up. We all experience things that can distract us from Jesus and his race for us, and temptations that can lead us into sin and away from God. What does it look like to throw off these things? Alongside engaging with Scripture and encouragement from others, I find asking God’s Spirit to lead me and then listening to and following his leading helps me do this.

We do not run alone. In Hebrews 12:2 we are encouraged to fix our eyes on Jesus. This goes beyond learning about Jesus’ life. As we look to Jesus we are transformed into his likeness and are empowered to run the race he marks out for us. In addition, we can learn from the example of those who have gone before us, especially from the stories captured in the Bible.

I love the way Paul encourages Timothy to continue living out the convictions forged from truths in Scripture, convictions he has seen lived out in his teachers and mentors (Timothy 3:14-15). As I have reflected on this, I realise how the faithful, persevering example of my teachers and mentors encourages me to continue in my race.   

Simon Cayzer