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. — Hebrews 12:1 New International Version
We all know men who are obsessed with staying in shape. We often say, or remember the days when we could say, “I am in the best shape of my life”. This is a good feeling and a good time, where we can work and play and physically accomplish a lot and physically succeed. Alternatively, when we aren’t as focused or disciplined in what we do or what we eat, the weight begins to add on and our productivity goes down. We lose the edge we had. Our saying then becomes, “I’m not as good as I once was, but I am as good once….right? But the truth is we can’t run the basketball court as well. We can’t hold up playing soccer with kids. We can’t physically carry the job materials as well or we get overheat more easily when working. We can’t do what we could do when we were fit and it affects our level of achievement. In Hebrews 11, the author tells the stories of the great ones of the bible. The biblical figures of great faith who stayed focused and believed in the Lord and moved the faith forward. In the first verse of Chapter 12, he turns the focus back to us, and says now let us throw off the spiritual weight. Basically he is saying, ‘Men, let us drop the spiritual weight, so that we can run and push forward as hard as we can to do that thing the Lord has called us to do’. But he puts it in the context of, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…” In other words, there is a great group of faith leaders that have gone before us and now it is our turn. It is our turn to push on and push forward, through perseverance and trial. If you go back and read Chapter 11, the author tells of the great faith leaders and then he tells of the trials they pushed through. We also know of the ‘weight’ that tripped the great men and women up. The weight was sin. It was adultery, murder, prostitution, disbelief, and others. So how do we run our best race? Drop the spiritual weight — the sin. When you get bogged down in sin, whether it be hate, or pornography, or gambling, or a long list of other sins, you can’t do for the Lord what you could do unburdened. The Truth is, that like the people in Hebrews 11, you may still, even in this sinful shape, be used to accomplish something for the Lord, but you will not run the great race that you are capable of running. When burdened by great sin and realizing it, King David repented and still was used in a mighty way for the kingdom, but he was still at times certainly constrained. In comparison, consider Jesus on this earth, who unburdened by sin, remained focused on the Father’s will and became the Son of Man, even dying on this world’s cross, so that we might become Sons of God. What will you do for the Father? Like a wrestler does, trying to make his assigned weight class so he can compete, drop the spiritual weight so you can compete today. Stay focused on the goal of Christ, and push forward unhindered by sin to accomplish God’s great desired purposes through you.