Hebrews 12:1 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.
Oh, I hate the spandex running suits! They are just so gross, yet probably make sense to the competitive runner. I think the point is to be wind resistant or something but I am so slow at running I don’t think wind resistance is my number one concern. I think I need a special suit that will prevent heart failure, shortness of breath, and side cramps!
All kidding aside, the idea of having minimal resistance will ensure a greater level of success. If we tried running in a race with lots of resistance, we wouldn’t be all that successful. Let’s say we tried to run a race carrying a full back-pack, a rope hanging down from it, shoelaces untied, a sweatshirt, and a pair of jeans. Why don’t you just throw some weights on your shoulders while you are at at? Okay, now let’s run! The first thing that happens is the rope starts tangling up around your legs and you start tripping over your shoes – sin. We need to get rid of that sin that so easily entangles and trips us up. Next, the weight of the backpack and all the other things we are carrying start to slow us down. What in the world have I put in my backpack that would keep me from running this race? That’s the baggage of life, the baggage of things God wants you to set yourself apart from. Don’t just dump out the back-pack, ditch it all together. And then come the jeans and the sweatshirt. They are the things that I allow closest to me. They are comfortable and they keep me safe and warm. But they aren’t the right attire for the race. They are the habit, the hope in the wrong things, the desires of the flesh… and they need to go too. All I really need is that darn spandex running suit.
Do we have stuff piling up on our backs that keep us from running the race? Here in Hebrews 12, we are to look to the great cloud of witnesses mentioned in the previous chapter. They are the heroes of the faith, the ones who kept their eye on the prize and let nothing slow them down. They didn’t stop to put the burdens of life on their shoulders or the rocks of life in their back-packs. They just put on the spandex of faith and ran. And once we get rid of all that junk, we too will have the perseverance to finish the race well. At the finish line we will hear our Lord say, “well done, good and faithful servant!”