1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Life is filled with decisions and it’s our day to day decisions that draw us closer or farther from God. In Hebrews 12 Paul reveals three decisions that determine a life of depth and significance. Paul starts by reminding us that we are following in the footsteps of the faithful not forging our own path. It is so easy to forget about those who have faithfully gone before us, people who lived life trusting God with every step they took. Their walk is a witness to what works, and if we want to win we need to remember that we are not alone. As Paul pictures life he presents us with a race, not a mad dash but a determined marathon. Today in our world we see the rat race with its relentless running and striving without arriving. But Paul was pointing to a race of purpose not perspiring. The world’s race is about sweat for self to please me where the faith race is about the Father and pleasing the Master. Success is not about climbing the corporate ladder but co laboring with Christ. These pivotal and directional decisions are found in the three “Let us” of Hebrews 12:1-2. “let us throw off everything“ “let us run with perseverance the race” and “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” The first decision has to do with our preparation as we make an
In the ancient Olympics an athlete would first have to prove that he was a Greek citizen before he could compete. Our first assessment has to do with our nationality, are we a citizen of heaven, have we accepted Jesus as our Savior. You can’t run the race if you don’t know the Redeemer. Without faith you’re born dead and you die dead. It’s better to be born twice and die once than to be born once and die twice. The first assessment has to do with are you a child of God the second what do you carry? Verse 1 says “let us throw off…” That means to remove things that hinder and hold us back. We live in a world that is comfortable with sin, where it is celebrated, a world that encourages people to be engaged in sin, to carry and even care for it. Yet in contrast to our culture Paul calls us to follow the truth and throw off the things that entangle and ensnare. Today we don’t talk about the seriousness of sin and the scares that are unseen. Sin is fun for a season until we suffer. Part of the assessment process involves a period of preparation and preparation involves sacrifice. Paul is calling us to get serious and strip off everything that would cause us to succumb to sin. We all have weights that we seem willing to carry, for some it’s the silent sins or those slight sins that we seem to think are not that bad so we bundle them up and try to run with our baggage. We are all tempted to take shortcuts, to skip the assessment and just start running. Yet when we do we run to ruin because before long the weight wears us down. What is your sin struggle? Life is not meant to be a cycle of repent and repeat, God wants us to have victory over our sins. When Paul calls us to throw off everything that hinders he doesn’t intend for us to jog around the block and pick it back up. Sin doesn’t just slow us down it takes us down. Preparation not only requires sacrifice but it also requires discipline. There are things that are not necessarily sins but they can still keep us from becoming what God intended us to become. They hinders and slows us down, sometimes they simply side track us from the real race. One of the biggest hurdles that hold people back are their hurts. It’s easy to get hung up by hurt which hinders our focus and drains our determination. On the other side of the scale our success can become our failure, instead of running we start relaxing. Our strength becomes our weakness as we are tempted to stop and sit back. Pride can become a pit but Paul gives us the antidote in Philippians 3:3:12-13 when he declared: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect… Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” When he wrote this he had already finished three missionary journeys. In his first trip, Paul went to Galatia where he spent 2 years and after wrote the book of Galatians. In his second trip, he went to Macedonia, Achaia and Greece, that took him three years. After which he wrote two letters to the Thessalonians. In his third trip, he went to Asia and spent four years there writing two letters to the Corinthians. Then Paul wrote his masterpiece, the letter to the Romans and yet he said that he have not arrived so he keep running. Today as you assess, are there any adjustments you need to make? In order to go on is there anything you need to let go of?