Our Finest Example
In the ancient games, champions enjoyed widespread admiration. Poets wrote about them, and sculptors made statues of them. Historian Vera Olvova says that they "bathed in glory and enjoyed immense popularity." They also served as models for a younger generation of champions.
Who is the "champion" setting the finest example for Christians?
Paul answers, "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
Yes, if we are to be victorious in our race for eternal life, we need to look intently to our Exemplar, Jesus Christ. This we can do by regularly reading the Gospel accounts and meditating on ways in which we can imitate him. Such study will help us appreciate that Jesus Christ was obedient to God and proved the quality of his faith by his endurance. As a reward for his endurance, he received the approval of Jehovah God along with many wonderful privileges. -Philippians 2:9-11.
Of course, Jesus' most outstanding quality was his love, "No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends." (John 15:13) He gave deeper meaning to the word "love" telling us to love even our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48) Because he loved his heavenly Father, Jesus found joy in doing the will of his Father. (Psalm 40:9, 10; Proverbs 27:11) Our looking to Jesus as our Exemplar and as the one who sets the pace for us in the strenuous race for life will also move us to love God and our neighbor and to find real joy in our sacred service.
(Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34; 1 Peter 2:21) Keep in mind that Jesus does not ask the impossible. He assures us: "I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Like Jesus, we need to keep our eyes on the prize that is reserved for all who endure down to the end. (Matthew 24:13) If we contend according to the rules, if we put off every weight, and if we run with endurance, we can be confident of victory. The goal in sight beckons us onward! It renews our strength because of the joy that it infuses in us, a joy that makes the road ahead of us easier to tread.
"This is the promised thing that he himself promised us, the life everlasting." -1 John 2:25
Excerpt from the 2001 Watchtower ,January 1 pages. 28-31
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