We live in an ever-integrative world. No time in history have we been able to communicate with people from all over the world so quickly for such a low cost. With the plethora of social media influencers who broadcast every minute detail of their lives, followers dedicate considerable amounts of time to learning about these individuals and what different lifestyle hacks they have to offer.
As is the case with most things, the more you spend time on something, the more proficient or knowledgeable you become of it. As a result, many people know quite a lot about social media influencers. Not only do they comprehend and implement the advice these influencers give, but they also know everything from where they live to what they had for breakfast.
This may be happening on only a subconscious level, but it appears that many cease wanting to be who God designed them to be. When you see the “perfect” lives of popular Instagram and YouTube successes, it may inspire you to be them.
The inspiration may lead you to pick up their career and make it your own. This is great if you have a knack for it, but it could spawn disaster if you don’t. For better and for worse, your wishes, hopes, and dreams may become wrapped up in attempting to replicate the lives of these popular people.
If these people serve as good role models, and many do, this can have a positive effect. Some people display such attributes as hard work, determination, a good sense of morality, a desire to improve the lives of others, and so on. That’s great. But the situation boils down to the fact that people are human. They may mistakes, sometimes quite glaring ones. They let you down, and it disappoints you. Or worse, they go down the wrong path, and you follow in suit.
In a world where so many voices are crying for your attention, virtually screaming that they want to be your role model, remember that no one is perfect. Remember there is only one person who ever lived who actually is. Only one person can serve as the perfect role model. His name is Jesus.
In Hebrews the Bible says:
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NKJV, Hebrews 12:1-2)
This verse is referencing the many Old Testament saints that have gone before us. No one saint lived the same life. Some lives were more comfortable than others. Some ended fine; others ended tragically. But they have all gone before us and are cheering us on from the stands of heaven during the greatest sporting event of all time – the race of life.
While many clamor for your attention, you and I both need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We need to follow His example. It is easy to get distracted with everyone around us. Each of us needs to run our own race, the race that Jesus wants us to run. It is a unique race that no one else has ever run or ever will run, and you don’t need to waste your time trying to run someone else’s race.
In Hebrews, it says we should eliminate the weights from our lives. Instead of being distracted by what is going on, we have to stay focused on Jesus. There are good distractions and bad ones, but in order to run the race that Jesus has for us, we need to lay those distractions on the wayside. Then we can focus on Jesus more clearly and become more like Him.
Then the Bible tells us to run with endurance. This means that life is not a sprint. The fastest person does not win the race of life. I was a long-distance runner in high school, and I found that a steady pace was the key. I would keep my steady pace for most of the race, and I would pass those that gave it all they had in the first lap and spent all their energy. The great race of life is a marathon.
Some people will be on fire for Christ for a short period of time and burn out. Our relationship with God grows one step at a time, one day at a time, in His Word, in prayer, and fellowship with other believers.
Jesus was with us at the start of this race, is with us now, and will be with us at the finish line. He is the author and finisher of our faith, and He provides truth on how to navigate this race. Essentially, He looked at the long-term. He knew that He would have to go through the pain and humiliation of the cross, but He went through with this difficult part of the race with joy.
Jesus knew that the pain of the cross would enable countless millions and billions to have eternal life. His joy was knowing how it would look after the pain.
The Bible says in Nehemiah that the joy of the Lord is our strength. That joy cannot be found in following the lives of others and subconsciously trying to be them, but only through keeping your focus on Jesus. He ran the race, and He was exalted so that He now is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. He ran a successful race, and only by looking to Him can we run a successful race, too.