“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”Hebrews 12:1 NLT
What is the sin that so easily trips us up? The sin of Unbelief. Unbelief will slow us down, sap our strength and destroy our faith and confidence in God. We should resist it like any other sin because it is the worst of all. That’s what caused the fall of Adam and Eve. They chose to believe Satan’s word over God’s. The military training includes the ability to run with heavy equipment on their backs. This not only builds endurance under pressure but stamina and fortitude. We also have a weight that we carry, but it isn’t one that weighs us down. This weight is the glory of God on our lives. When do we most often feel weighed down? When we carry what we are told to put off.
I believe that even after those guys shed their knapsack, they can still feel the effects of it. It’s a reminder of what they are being trained to do. Run through interferences. Run through obstacles. Run through adversity, but never losing focus on the big picture. They’re running to win. The difference between us and the military is this. Our race isn’t temporal, ours is eternal. We are running a race where victory is certain. As long as we keep the main thing, the main thing. This race to the finish line cannot be run in the flesh, but in the spirit. The flesh is the military knapsack, we have to shed it in order to be victorious. It’s not a sprint, it’s not twenty six point two miles to the finish line. This is a race that demands endurance for eternity.
The crowd of witnesses is the Word of God. Yes I know it’s referring to those who endured and finished their race. But we can’t hear them unless we open the Word and read their testimonies. We can’t hear them cheering us on unless we hear their voices saying. “Fight the good fight of faith” God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power!” “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world!” “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!” “You overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of your testimony!” “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you!” And the words of Jesus Christ Himself. “I Am with you always, even to the end of the age.” We can’t quit! That shouldn’t even be a consideration. Jesus didn’t die for wimps! If you were a wimp, the Holy Spirit changed that. He’s the Spirit of power!
A winner never quits and a quitter never wins. Run your race! Cease every moment. You have a destiny that’s greater than your current circumstances. Stop looking down and around. Look up! Look away from what’s happening to you, to Who’s happening in you. Jesus on the inside is all you need. Listen to the Spirit of Truth in you and cancel out the noise. Satan wants us to live a life of distractions. Get a greater vision of Who has called you to run. He has more confidence in you than you have in yourself. So believe Him! Feel the weight of His glorious presence. Everything the soldier needs is in that weighty knapsack. He’s double checked every piece of equipment to make sure that they’re in working order. There’s no room for malfunctioning equipment. We have been equipped with even greater instruments. We have the the Spirit of Truth, we have the Word of our Commander, unfailing, infallible, unchangeable, irrefutable, more powerful than any earthly weapon of war.
Knowing all this, we can run with patience. If the soldier can trust his training and commanders, how much more should we, knowing not hoping, that we cannot fail. The great crowd of witnesses can cheer us on because they ran and made it to the finish line. Our flesh is the heaviest baggage, but if we’ll agree with God and shed it, we’ll run with the light footedness of the Spirit. The flesh wasn’t born again, it’s full of unbelief and rebellion. But we don’t have to let it weigh us down. Paul continues in his writing. Giving us a way to overcome the weight.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Hebrews 12:2-3 NLT
How do we run to win people of God? We keep our eyes on Jesus! He didn’t quit and we shouldn’t either. We get weighed down because we lose sight of our Commander. The things we’re going through or facing, aren’t the main thing, they’re distractions and bumps in the road. Potholes. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus He’ll take care of all that. The weight of His glory is like being in deep waters. The farther out we go the less struggle we have. It’s called buoyancy. You can lay atop the water and never sink. Likewise, when we keep our eyes on the finish line, Jesus, who’s the Author and finisher of our faith, will see us through to the end. Little annoyances won’t cause us to quit running. We will finish strong. He will correct us when we need it, treating us as His sons and daughters. He wants us to win at this race called life. Never intending that we would do it alone. Some of what we see as problems, may just be His chastening. Don’t run away, run toward Him. I’ll close with a few more verses of the chapter.
“And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as His children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”
Hebrews 12:5-8, 11-13 NLT
Submit to His chastening when it’s necessary, stay in the race, and finish strong. We are those who will cheer on the next generation of race runners for His glory.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
October 15, 2021