High School

Running the Race

Lesson 9 


Winter 2019-20


By: Caroline Ferdinandsen 


January 26, 2020

Lesson Focus:

Focusing on Jesus gives us strength and courage.

Bible Basis:

Hebrews 2:9-10; 12:1-3

Materials Needed:

Step 1:

  • Internet access

Summary & Links:

Students will talk about marathon runners as they explore how fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us strength and courage.

Memory Verse:

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
—Hebrews 12:1b-2a

Step 1:

Students will talk about marathon runners as they explore how fixing our eyes on Jesus gives us strength and courage.

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access

Share the following video with your students and discuss the questions that follow [1:42]:
65-year-old man embarks on 100th marathon run at 2019 Chicago Marathon

  • What do you admire about someone like this marathon runner? (Answers will vary but may include: He has stayed committed to a goal for a very long time. He focuses attention away from his own success and toward other causes.)
  • What are some things that motivated Brendan Cournane to pursue his goal of being a marathon runner? (Brendan mentioned never wanting to do it again after his first marathon, but then he decided to coach other runners in person and virtually. He said working with others and seeing what a benefit he can be in the lives of others keeps him motivated.)
  • Do you think most people need motivation to stick with a long-term commitment? Why or why not? (People start things easily, but have trouble finishing.)
  • What can prevent people from sticking to a long-term goal of any kind? (Answers may include: Laziness, lack of training, distractions, etc.)
  • Can you think of a time when you started something but quit before you reached your goal? Can you think of anything that might have helped you stick with it? (Answers will vary. Be prepared to share your own personal experience.)
  • Lots of people make “resolutions” in the month of January, yet most of them fail. Have you ever sustained a goal for longer than one year? What was the key to your success? (Answers will vary; share your own success stories if possible.) 

Being able to finish what we start requires a lot of maturity! Most of us need help in the area of personal discipline. The Bible shows us that a life of following God is not just a quick sprint, but a long-term commitment. Let’s learn about what the Bible calls “a cloud of witnesses” who can cheer us on toward a long life of serving Jesus Christ.

Looking for Steps 2, 3 & 4?

You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide. To purchase a teacher’s guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes.

Step 4:

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Cardstock printout of runner’s marathon tag (1 per student; template found here)
  • Fine-tipped markers (1 per student; black)
  • Hole punch
  • Safety pins (2 per student)
  • Pens/pencils
  • Whiteboard and marker

Before class, create pin-on number “bibs” similar to those worn by marathon runners; print out one per student on cardstock. The template can be found here. Leave the gray boxes at the top and bottom blank for your students to fill in later.

Like other followers of Christ who came before us, we are a part of a huge crowd of witnesses—all finishing the race God has given us to complete in this life. Let’s think about the obstacles that just might keep us from finishing strong.  

Give your students a marathon runner bib along with black markers and pens/pencils. Have your students think of tag lines they would like to fill in to complete their runner tag and add those in the gray boxes with the black markers (an example might be listing the name of the race such as The Great Race or Life’s Marathon at the top and the memory verse reference on the bottom).

Once they have filled in their tag lines, instruct your teens to punch a hole in the upper corners of their runner’s tag and thread a safety pin through each hole. Have them turn their runner’s tag over to the blank side. Ask them to pair up with a partner to discuss and write down some of the things that might distract them from their spiritual goals but allow them to work privately if they prefer. Encourage them to avoid generalities like “sin” or “laziness” and instead think of specific things in their own lives that might be throwing them off course (encourage them to use symbols or abbreviations that will be known only to them if they are concerned about others seeing what they intended to be private).

When students have had time to think and write, discuss these questions together:

  • What are some distractions you came up with? (Students might mention personal weaknesses, family background, temptations, a busy lifestyle, indulgence, love of pleasure, poor friend choices, and so forth.)
  • Many athletes listen to motivational coaches or feel-good speeches to keep them engaged in training. But what else does a Christian have that can empower him to do God’s will? (We have the Holy Spirit at work in us—we do not have to rely on willpower.)
  • Thinking about the obstacles that you wrote on the back of your runner’s tag, how will you be able to minimize those? What steps can you take this week to throw off those things that might be holding you back in your race? (This question can be answered out loud as a group, or as quiet personal reflection if desired.)

At the end of the lesson, you might want to further the marathon metaphor by having your students pin their marathon numbers to their clothing. Encourage your teens to revisit their list of obstacles/distractions as well as their “how to” list this week at home, taking steps to stay motivated and engaged in the race.

Have your students pray with their partners at the close of class—and even into the weeks to come.

Spread the word

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