Posted March 04, 2013
Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith
12 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,
Imagine an Olympic runner who walks up to the starting line with a bowling ball tied to his leg... The scene would obviously be silly, but the writer of Hebrews seems to think that many people do just this! If we don’t take the “race of faith” seriously, we are like the weighed down runner. The exhortation in this verse follows the “chapter of faith” found in Hebrews 11 which documents the lives of those who embodied faithful living. These are the “cloud of witnesses” mentioned for they displayed faith in action. In light of those who have gone before us and have lived lives of faith, so we too should enter the same race they did. The race analogy only goes so far, for the goal here is not to beat the opposition (those running alongside us are companions not competitors), but rather ending the race for we know what lies at the end and stands as the prize: God Himself. We are told two practical things pertaining to this race:
First, we are to lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely. The first things that hinder us in the race are “weights”. These weights could be sin, but they could also just be things that might make running more challenging. So ask yourself, “In my life, what holds me back or down in my relationship with God?” Is it your friendships or a relationship? A job? Being admired by others? Comfort? Having the nicest “stuff”? Oh, that we would be a people who are always willing to forsake the good for the best! Life is short friends, live wisely. It also says to rid ourselves of sin which clings so closely. This could be a reference to the addictive side of sin, where we even cease to distinguish it from our true selves and can’t imagine life apart from it. The ultimate point is that sin gets in the way of our running which is our main task! Sin is constantly trying to slow us down in our current race and seeking to lure us into running in a different direction and in a different race. There’s a great contradiction between those seeking to sin and those seeking to run the race of faith. They are different races. At the end of the race of sin is self-gratifying pleasure and destruction; at the end of the race of faith is God-filled pleasure and eternal life. What are race are you running? If it is the race of faith, then free yourself of any sin and distractions that hinder. Confess the sin before God and others, and seek freedom in Christ as you continue to run the race.
Secondly, we are to run with endurance the race that is set before us. This is what we were created for! Note that a key word involved in this running is called “endurance”. So many people start to run but only make if a few steps before throwing in the towel and giving up. For the Christian, endurance is a crucial element! It’s not just a sprint and if you feel like it, keep going. It’s one we seek to press on in every day of our lives, no matter what season of life we’re in! May each morning we rise and put on the shoes of the gospel and continue to run with endurance... Friends, take up faith. Cut ties with any weight that distracts you from what you know you’re called to. Rid yourself of sin in God’s strength and surrounded by community. Rejoice in the Greater Prize. And press on, especially when you fall. May God fill your heart with faith and legs with endurance!
This week’s song was written by Joel Limpic and Chris Jurrens, produced by Chris Clark, and Chad Bratton played trombone.