“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…” Heb. 12:1 (ESV)
In this verse, the writer of Hebrews uses the analogy of running a race to describe the Christian life. Paul uses the same analogy in 1 Cor. 9:24, and 2 Tim. 4:7. In 2 Tim. 4:7, Paul reminds us that we don’t finish the race until we reach the end of our life.
Our spiritual race as a long distance race, not a sprint.
In order to run that long race, we are instructed to lay aside every weight. When I ran a marathon a few years ago, I started the race with long pants over running shorts because it was 37 degrees at the start. But after running 10 miles, I was drenched in sweat and thankful to see a family member on the route that allowed me to shed those pants.
In the same way, as we run our spiritual race, we will start with things that are initially helpful, but end up weighing us down later. Whatever is not actively bringing you closer to Christ is actually slowing you down in the race. As the Lord reveals those things to you, resist the temptation to hang onto them. Instead, shed them so that you can finish the race God has for you.
In addition to weights, the writer mentions sin that clings so closely to us. When we come to faith in Christ, we don’t immediately stop sinning. Our sinful habits must also be shed over time. We do this is by spending time each day reviewing our thoughts and actions of the previous day, recognizing and confessing our sins to the Lord.
Remembering and confessing our sins does more than just cleanse us from those sins. It helps us recognize our weaknesses and engages us in the process of overcoming those sins.
As you continue your race, develop the habit of shedding weights and sins daily so that you can successfully finish the race God has laid out for you.
Prayer: Lord, help me shed the things that are weighing me down and the sins that still cling to me so that I can run with endurance.