Hebrews 12:1, 2 NKJV Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
From the moment that a person asks Jesus into their heart to be their own personal Lord and Savior, they are in a race to complete the course that God has laid out for their lives. Each one of us is different and the race that we run is not in competition with others around us but with our own inner feelings and the sin that would hinder us from completing our course with joy.
There are three things that will hinder us in completing the course that God has planned for our lives: weights, sin, and lack of endurance.
Weight – Greek word – ogkos – means a mass (as bending or bulging by its load, i.e. burden (hindrance):–weight.
Weights or cares that we encounter through life can be so heavy that we bend or bulge under the load. We were not designed to carry our cares as Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:6,7:
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all of your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
Our cares are meant to be cast on Jesus. We were not designed to carry the weight of them and they will hinder us in running our race for the Lord. This reminds me of the show “The Biggest Loser” where the last challenge for the final five was that they pull a sled loaded with the weight that they had lost throughout their time on the Biggest Loser Fitness Ranch up a steep mountainous incline. They each had different amounts of weight to carry and it was an arduous climb for them in carrying that additional weight. God wants to carry the weight for us.
We can’t run a race for Jesus if we continue to worry over problems, wondering how we can find the solution for every one of them. Give them to the Lord, He wants to carry them for you!
Sin – Greek word “hamartia”, which means “a missing of the mark”.
God’s standard for righteousness is the mark that we miss. We are imperfect human beings created by a perfect God. When sin entered the human race through Adam we became sinners by birth because sin passes down through the bloodline. But we also sin by the choices that we make that go against God’s standards for living. It is at that point that we have a choice to make; we can either continue in our sin and allow that sin to stand between us and the Lord in being able to run our race successfully, or confess it to God and be cleansed from it and forgiven.
1 John 1:8, 9 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we confess our sin to God we are assured that He will forgive us and cleanse us. We then have that load removed from our backs and can continue to run our race with joy.
Endurance – Greek word “hupomone” – means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy:–enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).
Sometimes we think we should be like Clark Kent in the television show “Superman” who could leap over tall building with one single bound and arrive at destinations with split second timing, but God is patient and continues working with us waiting for us to “get it” and move through the course that He has planned for us with patience and a continued focus on Him. Lack of endurance or patience in this race of life will hinder us from arriving at the finish line on time. We are to steady ourselves, looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith!
What weight, sin or impatience is stopping you from completing your race on time? Whatever it is, give it to the Lord today. Don’t allow anything to stop you from looking unto Jesus to give you the strength that is needed to run your race with endurance. Life is full of pot holes; things that try to detour us from our destination in Christ Jesus, but God has the answer to every challenge that we encounter. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
Father, I come before You this morning to cast my cares on You. I know that You did not intend for me to carry the weight of them and I desire to run my race with joy and complete my course on time. Father, I ask You to forgive me of the sin that stands between You and me. I confess to you right now that my efforts at walking sin free will never attain the mark of Your righteousness and ask that You would forgive me and cleanse me from it. Father, I pray that You will help me to run my race with patient endurance and that I might finish the course that You have set before me with joy as I look unto Jesus for the faith that I need to complete the tasks that You have set before me. I know that You will enable me to be successful in what You have called me to do. May my life be pleasing unto You, Lord Jesus, as I focus on the plan that You have for me to walk out. Thank You, Father! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.