Paul was a master illustrator. His epistles use illustrations that help impress the Gospel truth upon our minds. In each one he gives as it were a gift-wrapped package. The shape of his message is clear, but he invites us to unwrap the gift to see the wonderful detail. So what seems to be a simple illustration becomes a profound vehicle of truth.
For example, he urges us to “Run with patience the race that is set before us” [Hebrews 12:1]. No doubt he had in mind the famous Greek race commemorating the run of Pheidippides across the Plain of Marathon with news of the victorious stand of 192 Athenians against the Persian army in 490BC.
Paul now invites us to unwrap the package, and we think of how a race must have a starting line. Jesus Christ is the “Author,” or start, of our race of faith. As the runner must come to the starting line, not vice-versa, so we must come to Christ. Like good athletes, we must divest ourselves of every hindering thing.
We must run with patience, for the Christian race is a marathon, not a sprint. The spectators, the “great cloud’ of saints, urge us on to the prize. Eyes must be on the finishing line, which again is Christ. What a supreme moment when we receive the eternal prize from His nail-pierced hands.
When reading your Bible today, pause for a moment and ask the Lord to show you some new thing from His Word. Carefully unwrap the treasured words, meditate upon them, and He will give you some gem to enrich your spiritual experience. Many miss the blessing because they hurry through their Bible reading as a chore, rather than a delight.
Pause at every verse of Scripture and shake, as it were, every bough of it, that if possible some fruit at least may drop down