Running the Heavenly Race

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 11/08/2020

Foundation Scriptures: 
Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 AMPC

1. The Race for The Prize.
a. The Greek word ‘race’ means; a contest in an arena—a race; fight; struggle; contest. 
b. Our first goal is to FINISH our race. 
c. Our second goal is to finish well and WIN the rewards that are promised. 
d. There is a crowd of witnesses—those who went before us and who paved the way by paying the price.
e. They are watching us and cheering us on. 
f. Each of us is running the appointed course that God has for our lives. 
g. Be watchful to avoid distractions. 
h. Lay aside every burden of cares and worries and every weight of sin. 
i. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit—you will need to exercise patient endurance.  
j. It is not a 100-yard dash, it is a marathon—you will need to have steady and active persistence and faith. 
k. Whatever you do, keep your eyes on Jesus and follow His lead and His example. 
l. Strive always to be pleasing to God, not man.

2. Run to Win an Imperishable Crown.
a. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV — Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
b. Run like a winner!
c. Expect to finish—expect to win. 
d. Be fully committed; be determined; be persistent.
e. Develop self-control (over mind and body) and bring your body under subjection by discipline and training. 
f. 2 Timothy 2:3-13
g. Be a good soldier.
h. Philippians 3:12-14 AMPC — Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
i. Do not slacken off prematurely and do not celebrate too soon. 
j. Forget the past—the victories and the defeats—and continue to press on toward your goal and your heavenly prizes.
k. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV — Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
l. Focus on the eternal and do not ever lose heart.

3. Someone is Cheering You On. 
a. Both those who have gone before you—the great cloud of witnesses—and your fellow believers are rooting for you and cheering you on (Hebrews 12:1). 
b. 2 Corinthians 1:24 Message Bible — We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours. 
c. 2 Corinthians 13:5-9a Message Bible — Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. 6 I hope the test won’t show that we have failed. 7 But if it comes to that, we’d rather the test showed our failure than yours. 8 We’re rooting for the truth to win out in you. 9 We couldn’t possibly do otherwise. 
d. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 AMPC — We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, 3 Recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

4. Hold onto Your Crown.
a. Revelation 3:10-11 AMPC — Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth. 11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. 
b. Do not let go of your crown—fight the good fight and finish the race!