A Good Analogy of the Christian Trinity

If you haven’t seen this very important high-quality video about Bad Analogies the Christian idea of the Trinity, then you are missing out. I present it here for your edification:

I remember watching this and feeling challenged to come up with an analogy that doesn’t break some heresy of the Christian church. And I think I’ve succeeded, but I’m obviously not an expert, so feedback is welcome.

The Goal

This post tries to make a very understandable, precise, but also quite orthodox (meaning not heretical) understanding of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity: the way that God is eternally existent as three “persons” but has one “essence,” and is therefore still one God. The goal is to make it match up with both scripture and the ancient Christian creeds.

The picture of how God is constituted is modeled on a human being.

The Human Trinity: Different Aspects of the Same Individual

I thought this analogy of a person is fitting since Scripture says that Mankind is made “in the image” of God. It is going to use some antiquated ideas of what a human being is, but I believe it is quite understandable after a bit of explaining.

I won’t pretend that this is EXACTLY how it works, as all analogies eventually break down, but hopefully I can make it at least look like the truth to give some understanding.

The Divisions of the Human Person

Imagine that you have decided to run a Marathon. Because of this, you have started training for that Marathon. At the moment, you are asleep and dreaming about crossing the finish line several months in the future.

But yesterday, you ran five miles, and it hurt. You know that when you wake up, your training regimen says you must run eight miles. It will hurt again. You hear your alarm. Your eyelids are heavy. Your legs and body ache with soreness. Without words, your muscles say “Ouch.”

At that moment, a voice in the back of your mind says “Do we really have to start running this early? I’m sure a 7:00am workout is just as healthy as a 6:00am workout.”

But then something else inside you says with much more vigor: “Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line!” So despite the pain, you decide to move. You get up, stretch like your training regimen recommends, put on your shoes, and go on your run.

Who Is Talking When You Talk to Yourself?

Let me ask the following questions about that very understandable example: What part of you was tired? What part of you tried to reason it’s way to another hour of sleep? What part of you put away those thoughts and those pains and said “Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line!” What part of you ultimately decided what to do? Who obeyed that decision? What happened throughout that interaction?

Here are my answers. The thing that was tired was your “Body,” obviously. It said “ouch” to your mind without words. Your Body is the physical thing that exists. It hungers, it sleeps, it aches, it reproduces, and it runs. It does not dream and it does not think. At the end of the day, it merely “does.”

The thing that tried to calculate the schedule and whether it would be possible to get more sleep was what we call your “Mind.” It is not your brain, which is a part of your body. It is the invisible MIND, which is an immaterial “thing” that we connect to our brain. It thinks. It reasons. It calculates. It argues. And at the end of the day, it “decides.” It is what “decided” to sign up for the Marathon. It is what “decided” the training regimen to follow. After feeling the ache of the Body and hearing the “Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line” it is what told your body, THROUGH your brain, to get up, stretch, put on your shoes, and go for your run. Your Body “obeyed,” doing what the Mind told it to do.

The thing that said “Marathon!” and dreamed and saw your body crossing the finish line, and influenced you enough to cause your mind to order you out of your bed is your “will,” or your “heart” or whatever. For simplicity’s sake, I will refer to this “will” or “heart” or whatever it is that DESIRES things and influences your choices as your “Spirit.” This Spirit dreams. It loves. It hopes. It wants. It desires. It is not rational. The Mind is rational, but this thing is not. There is no “reason” to wanting something, but regardless, these “wants” obviously exist. The Body said “Ouch” and the Mind tried to think about extra sleep, but without any rational input, but out of pure DESIRE to cross the finish line in glory, the Spirit said “Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line” The Mind heard this command, which fulfilled its previously made plan, and decided for you to get up. Therefore, the Spirit is an immaterial thing that pushes both the Mind and the Body to move.

The Analogy

Therefore, this is the analogy:

  • God the Father is the Mind
  • God the Son is the Body
  • God the Holy Spirit is the Spirit

They are all God. They are all the same “thing.” But they are distinct. They have different roles. In the analogy above, they thought and spoke in different ways. But nevertheless, each and every one of them is YOU, and “you” are one person.

If this way of understanding works for you, then it can definitely work for God, who is much more than “you” will ever be.

The Unity of this Trinity of “You”

Each of these things I described is “you.” You can be accurately described both as the collection of all of these things or as any one individual extrapolation of these things.

The Body Examined

A description of your Body can describe you with your DNA and your height and weight, your hair and skin tone, what you look like and all of those things.

Additionally, this Body is the only one of those things that is ever actually SEEN by anyone else. Unless you are an identical twin, there is no one who shares your DNA. Even if someone does share your DNA, they don’t share you cells, the nutrition that has formed your Body, the scars and experiences that have trained your muscles, or the other aspects that make your physical self uniquely “you.”

The Mind Examined

Additionally, the Mind is shown in words and thoughts and intellect and knowledge. If someone writes a book, that is a product of their mind, not the body. When I interact with an autobiography by reading it, I am not looking at someone’s Body. But I am looking at a product of their Mind. I can understand this person by understanding their Mind.

If I know the thoughts (which are always not seen) of someone’s Mind, I know THEM. If there is a corpse on the table, I will be able to accurately identify a body through their DNA or the physical description, but I will never know THEM. But even if someone never sees you in the flesh, they can still know YOU by knowing your Mind.

The Spirit Examined

Someone’s Spirit is also unique. You might be one of thousands of people who want to run that Marathon, but that’s only one aspect of what you desire. Who loves your children like you love your children? Who loves your sports teams like you love your sports teams? Who loves your spouse like you love your spouse? Who loves your career, craft, or vocation like you do? Who loves the same books and movies and interests like you do? Though it is technically possible for someone to share these aspects with you, it is highly unlikely, especially to the same degree.

If we were to spend the time and get specific, someone could completely and uniquely describe YOU by describing what you love and desire.

The Interaction of These Three Aspects of You

Someone’s mind is shown in their speech. The body may turn the words into sound waves, but it is not the vocal chords that have the message. A body may build a certain building or machine or piece of art, but it cannot do that without the command from the mind. In other words, the body only does what the mind tells it to do. (See John 5:19-20) Additionally, no one will ever say something, write something, build something, or run a Marathon unless their Spirit desires to do it. But a “Spirit” doesn’t decide to run a Marathon, your mind does. The “Spirit” doesn’t run a Marathon, your Body does. But these desires of the Spirit are shown through your Mind and Body.

Do you see how this matches up to the description of Jesus:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Do you see how this matches up to the description of the Holy Spirit when Jesus speaks of Him:

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (John 16:12-15)

Do you see how this analogy works?

How Does This Analogy Align With The Creeds?

Obviously, to pass the test, this analogy needs to align with the Christian creeds that speak on the Trinity. So let’s explore a few of them with this analogy in mind.

The Nicene Creed

The Nicene Creed was written in 325 after the first council of Nicaea. It was written to clarify the doctrine against the teachings of Arius, who as we learn from the Irish twins, teaches that Christ and the Holy Spirit are creations OF the Father and not one in nature WITH the Father. (Come on, Patrick!)

And so without further adieu, here is the text of the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God,
      the Father almighty,
      maker of heaven and earth,
      of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
      the only Son of God,
      begotten from the Father before all ages,
           God from God,
           Light from Light,
           true God from true God,
      begotten, not made;
      of the same essence as the Father.
      Through him all things were made.
      For us and for our salvation
           he came down from heaven;
           he became incarnate by the Holy Spirit and the virgin Mary,
           and was made human.
           He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate;
           he suffered and was buried.
           The third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures.
           He ascended to heaven
           and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
           He will come again with glory
           to judge the living and the dead.
           His kingdom will never end.

So, here, we have SOME clarifications to make, because obviously not everything is the SAME, but it is at least similar. The first thing I’m going to do is not try to describe “begotten from the Father before all ages” at this time, because that’s going to require some work in the next section.

Instead, let’s note that God the Father is the maker of heaven and earth, but all of these things are made THROUGH God the Son. Note that anything you have ever done, even if it is as small as turning words into speech or thoughts into letters on a page was done THROUGH your body. But when your body is working right, it is only doing what the Mind tells it to do.

There is also the technical issue of the Son being the same ESSENCE as the Father, and this is a huge Church controversy, as it is an issue of the translation of the Greek word ousia (οὐσία) which means “substance” or “essence.” This is a huge controversy between Latin and Greek which is just ridiculously arcane to English speakers and quite academic and impractical. Regardless, in needs to be addressed to pass our test.

Also, note that in the description of Jesus, the thing that came down from heaven, became incarnate, was “human,” was crucified, suffered and was buried, and all that is a BODY, which exactly the same thing that would have to do all those things if it was talking about you.

While it may be possible to break down the analogy to say that an immaterial spirit is different from an immaterial mind, or that these immaterial things are not of the same “substance” as the physical body, let’s not go down that road. Instead, let’s just stay simple and recognize that it isn’t a horse that’s going to finish the Marathon with you on top. Nope. That’s definitely a different “substance” AND “essence.” You aren’t asleep when you run the Marathon leaving your mind out. You don’t mentally run the Marathon leaving your body out. Instead, YOU are going to run the Marathon, and by any ordinary way of speaking, since your Mind signed you up, your Spirit drove you to do it, and your Body put in the miles, each and every part of you in this picture ESSENTIALLY ran the Marathon.

I’m sure we can have many different arguments that proceed from this description in the Nicene Creed, but we need to move from the Father and the Son — or maybe just from the Father, if you’re Greek Orthodox — and filioque to the last person of the Trinity:

And we believe in the Holy Spirit,
      the Lord, the giver of life.
      He proceeds from the Father and the Son,
      and with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified.
      He spoke through the prophets.
      We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
      We affirm one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
      We look forward to the resurrection of the dead,
      and to life in the world to come. Amen.

Here, we also see the parallels. The Holy Spirit is the giver of life, which metaphorically lines up with what “gives” you the desire to get up and start running. This things proceeds from your Mind and your Body, just as the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (Or hey! Maybe just your Mind! It works both ways! I don’t want to get involved in a 1000-year old argument, people!).

Additionally, just as we can praise someone’s brilliance or physical strength, we can praise their grit and determination. In the same way, the Holy Spirit is worshiped and glorified with the Father and the Son.

How did the prophets speak from God? They were MOVED by the Holy Spirit to do so. How does the Spirit work in the universal (that’s all the word “catholic” means here) Church? It causes Christians to DESIRE what Christ desires, love what Christ loves, and act as Christ acted, obeying and glorifying the Father, and obeying Him, just as Christ obeyed the Father.

So, with the Nicene Creed has been taken care of. So far, our analogy works.

The Athanasian Creed

The Athanasian Creed is the Christian creed that speaks the most in-depth about God as a Trinity. Athanasius of Alexandria lived in the 200s and 300s.

This creed comes forward as the most explicit rejection of Arianism, which said that Jesus was “created” by God the Father, as the “first-born of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) as someone who was literally “born” and came into existence. This is in contrast to the Christian idea that Jesus is an eternally-existing aspect of God’s Trinity, who is the “firstborn of all creation” in the sense that he is going to inherit it and rule it, just like firstborn children do in ancient times and the Bible.

This is what that Creed says, and I’ll break to describe how my idea matches with it. Keep in mind that this Creed is in Latin, so the Latin word “person” is “persona” which means both a social role and a mask worn by a performer in a play.

Without further adieu, the Athanasian Creed:

That we worship one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.

Similarly, you as a person with a mind, body, and spirit are YOU, and your body is not your mind and your spirit is neither of these two. It would be wrong to merge your “brain” with your “mind” just like it is wrong to merge God the Son (who has been seen, John 1:14) with God the Father (who no one has seen, John 1:18). You have to love each for what it is. You can’t confuse intelligence with strength or strength with grit or any of that. You can’t blend the aspects of YOU, but neither can you divide the aspects of YOU without doing something really bad.

For the person of the Father is a distinct person,
the person of the Son is another,
and that of the Holy Spirit still another.
But the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one,
their glory equal, their majesty coeternal.

Here’s where my analogy breaks down a little bit. Even though I’ve made a distinction between the Mind (the Father), the Body (the Son) and the Spirit of a person (the Holy Spirit), these are not all eternal like God is, because we know that our body will die and pass away, but souls are eternal and live on, either in heaven or hell. If we try to get super-specific about how YOU exist, we might have to say something that doesn’t match up with God, like the fact that our MIND lives forever and will be matched to a new and resurrected and glorified Body, even though OUR Body is going to die. When you add in a temporary part of YOU to the mix, that breaks things down.

But hey: It was the best I could do, and it’s only an analogy, so cut me some slack.

   What quality the Father has, the Son has, and the Holy Spirit has.
        The Father is uncreated,
        the Son is uncreated,
        the Holy Spirit is uncreated.

        The Father is immeasurable,
        the Son is immeasurable,
        the Holy Spirit is immeasurable.

        The Father is eternal,
        the Son is eternal,
        the Holy Spirit is eternal.

            And yet there are not three eternal beings;
            there is but one eternal being.
            So too there are not three uncreated or immeasurable beings;
            there is but one uncreated and immeasurable being.

Obviously, this breaks down, because we are definitely created. But since the goal is to take something you understand (you) and turn it into something you don’t understand (God), you have to see the parallels. Just as each part of YOU is CREATED and necessarily exists in those three aspects, in the same way, each part of GOD is UNCREATED and necessarily exists in these three aspects of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Additionally, you are quite measurable, everything from your DNA to your intelligence. You are not eternal, because your mind, body, and spirit had a beginning. But that’s because you’re not God. But yet, you are not three non-eternal and non-measurable beings. You are ONE non-eternal and quite measureable being, in contrast to God who is immeasurable and eternal and also ONE.

Moving on:

    Similarly, the Father is almighty,
        the Son is almighty,
        the Holy Spirit is almighty.
            Yet there are not three almighty beings;
            there is but one almighty being.

There’s a nice parallel here, too: Your Mind is NOT all-knowing or omniscient, even though God the Father is. Your Body is NOT all powerful and able to create the entire universe, even though God the Son is. Your Spirit is NOT almighty, never ceasing, never being drawn to futile or unproductive ways, and never giving up, but the Holy Spirit is.

In every failure that YOU have, that is an aspect of God’s ALMIGHTY character in contrast.

        Thus the Father is God,
        the Son is God,
        the Holy Spirit is God.
            Yet there are not three gods;
            there is but one God.

And in the same way, your Mind and thoughts are YOU. Your Body and DNA is YOU. Your Spirit and wants and desires and loves are YOU. But there are not three Yous. There is only one “You.”

        Thus the Father is Lord,
        the Son is Lord,
        the Holy Spirit is Lord.
            Yet there are not three lords;
            there is but one Lord.

Just as Christian truth compels us
    to confess each person individually
    as both God and Lord,
    so catholic religion forbids us
    to say that there are three gods or lords.

In the same way, your Mind is not “Lord” able to correctly rule your Spirit and Body. Your Body is not “Lord” able to take care of itself and survive all on its own. Your Spirit is not “Lord” pulling to you to things that you should seek in order to live and prosper. No, not at all. That is the doctrine of Total Depravity right there.

There is one Lord, and he is God. We have seen him as Jesus Christ, and he lives inside us as the Holy Spirit, drawing us to what we should do. God is Lord, but there are not three Lords, there is one God and One Lord.

Also, that word “catholic” means universal, not “Roman Catholic Church,” so don’t let it fool you.

    The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten from anyone.
    The Son was neither made nor created;
    he was begotten from the Father alone.
    The Holy Spirit was neither made nor created nor begotten;
    he proceeds from the Father and the Son.

    Accordingly there is one Father, not three fathers;
    there is one Son, not three sons;
    there is one Holy Spirit, not three holy spirits.

    Nothing in this trinity is before or after,
    nothing is greater or smaller;
    in their entirety the three persons
    are coeternal and coequal with each other.

    So in everything, as was said earlier,
    we must worship their trinity in their unity
    and their unity in their trinity.

Here’s where it gets a little weird, because we need to define a word that is no longer used.

About that “Begotten” Business

Note that “begotten” does not merely mean “Fathered,” even in the human sense. Instead, “begotten” involves bringing something into its fullness and inheritance. We don’t “beget” children today, because it is the law and our civil and legal rights that give us the dignity and sustenance for our children to become who they are. The Father needs no one to “beget” him, because he already HAS all the status and power and glory and whatever that there is. He was neither created NOR begotten from anyone.

In contrast, we see something weird with Jesus. Since Jesus is God and eternal, he was never “created.” And yet, Jesus is the “only begotten” Son of God, if you’re reading the KJV. (John 3:16)

This phrase “only begotten” aspect of Jesus is often switched to “only son” (ESV) or “one and only son” (NIV). The problem with rendering it this way is that Adam is called a “son of God,” (Luke 3:38) and Adam was not Jesus. I have some sympathy for the Bible translators, as this is a confusing concept, but strangely enough, Jesus is not the only son of God. (If you don’t believe me, see his own words on the subject in Luke 20:36 and Matthew 5:9 and most extensively in John 10:31-39).

But Jesus IS the only BEGOTTEN Son of God, who is exalted to the right hand of the Father. (Philippians 2:9) This is why it is possible for God the Father to say to an ETERNAL Son that “Today, I have begotten you.” (Hebrews 5:5)

To answer the question of “But when does Jesus get this ‘begotten’ status?” The answer SEEMS to be at “the fullness of time.” As it says in Ephesians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:3-10)

Additionally, we see this elsewhere, too:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

The “Proceeding” of the Holy Spirit

Likewise, there is also a funny thing that comes from the Holy Spirit. He “proceeds from the Father and the Son.” That is strange.

But think of it this way: If you are merely a disembodied Mind with no Body, what does it MEAN to “want” something (which is what a “spirit” does)? You have no needs. You don’t need food to eat or water to drink or sleep to rest or anything. You just ARE, regardless of how big or small you are. But only once a Mind gets a Body does the concept of “want” or “desire” ever enter into the picture.

In the same way, the eternal Holy Spirit proceeds from the eternal Father and through the eternal Son does this thing work. This is as just the ordinary way that your “Spirit” interact with your “Mind” and “Body.”

No, your Body, Mind, and Spirit are not eternal like God’s Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but at least we can understand how they work through that relationship.

Now back to the creed:

Anyone then who desires to be saved
should think thus about the trinity.

But it is necessary for eternal salvation
that one also believe in the incarnation
of our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully.

Yes, I agree. And here’s the kicker: Pretend that you LOVE a beautiful woman, but you can’t stand the movies she likes or the books she reads or the things she likes to eat, and you don’t speak her language, and you hate the sports teams she likes, and you hate her friends.

Sorry, bro. You can’t “love” her body if you don’t also know and love her Spirit and Mind. There’s a word for that, but it ain’t “love.”

You can’t “love” someone’s Mind but hate their Body and Spirit. You can’t “love” an author of a book that you’ve never met, if you also don’t feel the need to meet him if you see him in the flesh. You also can’t “love” that author if you also hate his ultimate desire in writing the book. You can’t share the same loves and desires as a person if you can’t stand to look at them or hear their voice. It might be POSSIBLE to do some of these things in this world, but the word for that thing is not “love.”

It’s the same with God. You can’t love Jesus without also sharing his Holy Spirit and worshiping God the Father. You either love the three all together, or you don’t love the three persons of the Trinity at all. That is why Jesus says:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. . . . Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” (John 14:15, 21)

Now back to the creed:

Now this is the true faith:

    That we believe and confess
    that our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son,
    is both God and human, equally.

     He is God from the essence of the Father,
    begotten before time;
    and he is human from the essence of his mother,
    born in time;
    completely God, completely human,
    with a rational soul and human flesh;
    equal to the Father as regards divinity,
    less than the Father as regards humanity.

    Although he is God and human,
    yet Christ is not two, but one.
    He is one, however,
    not by his divinity being turned into flesh,
    but by God’s taking humanity to himself.
    He is one,
    certainly not by the blending of his essence,
    but by the unity of his person.
    For just as one human is both rational soul and flesh,
    so too the one Christ is both God and human.

He suffered for our salvation;
he descended to hell;
he arose from the dead;
he ascended to heaven;
he is seated at the Father’s right hand;
from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
At his coming all people will arise bodily
and give an accounting of their own deeds.
Those who have done good will enter eternal life,
and those who have done evil will enter eternal fire.

Yep. That’s literally what happened.

Back to Our Analogy

Let’s think about our analogy of the Marathon again. Let’s think about what happens when your Body actually finishes that race. Let’s think about how your Spirit can empower your Body to do that, and fulfill the purposes that your Mind decided and directed your Body to do. Imagine crossing the finish line. Imagine the photo of you coming across the line with a cheering crowd.

But imagine something else. Imagine that the idea that put the Spirit in you to say “Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line” was not your own Mind. Let’s say that it was Christ himself. Let’s say that the reason that Christ put that idea in you was because God the Father directed him to put that idea in you. Let’s pretend that the training of “running a Marathon” isn’t literally a Marathon.

I did not choose this analogy accidentally. Instead, as Paul writes:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Yes, only one receives the prize. In this life on Earth, only Jesus Christ has run the race and received the prize. But we can follow him. We can run as he did. We can run in his wake and see the same finish line that he crossed. So train. Exercise self-control in all things. And receive a prize that is imperishable. Do not run aimlessly.

But what happens when you’re about to die in the middle of the race? What if you feel as though you cannot make it? In one sense, our training can help us. But we have another Helper as well:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

“Marathon! Let’s go! Remember the Finish Line!”

Let’s imagine something further. Let’s pretend that every person who runs this race with you was also inspired by Jesus Christ himself. Let’s pretend that the signs marking off the course were placed by Jesus Christ himself. Let’s pretend that the workers of that race with their water-stops and cheering crowds are there because Jesus Christ has directed them to be there.

Therefore, we can say as the author of Hebrews has already said:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Think of this analogy when you read what Paul says of himself, as he followed Jesus Christ to the end, coming near to his death:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Conclusion

So run with endurance the race set before you. And do not fear what you will find on your path:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

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