Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 3, 2009

the leaner we run …

You likely have either participated in a strenuous athletic event, or know someone who has. Typically, the clothing worn at these events will be light. Athlete’s look for any advantage gained through limited clothing and light footwear. Olympic swimmers took the competition to new levels last year with swimsuits that were built light, and for speed. Those on the journey of being fully devoted followers of Christ need to “run the race” like our Olympians.  Reducing any weight that will hinder us on the spiritual marathon that is our journey. Scripture has something to say about the way we run our race.

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.

Being someone who wants to finish my journey well, I am very aware of struggles that tend to weigh me down. Just last week, in a discussion with a friend, I was reminded of an area that needed some sharpening. Relating my life to Hebrews 12:1 gave me some insight on what to do (and it’s context pictures a race). Great sermons have been preached on this verse, and you have probably heard a few. But in taking a quick stop as we journey, examine the first part of the verse with me, and be encouraged. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”, takes us to the previous chapter where we see great examples of faith. Those referenced had great journey struggles, but also great faith. Their examples (as a great cloud of witnesses) gives us hope. Faith works, and faith conquers!

Reading this post bears witness that you believe God will honor your faith. You also probably want to sharpen some areas by accepting the second part of the verse, “let us throw off everything that hinders’’. God chose not to give us a specific item that hinders. I believe He did that for a purpose. We may struggle in different areas, but we all have a tendency to carry weight that burdens us on the “race marked out for us”.

What weights are hindering your spiritual effectiveness? What items need to be thrown off? Great athletes give us counsel by the way they compete. Extra weight can be the difference between winning and losing, so even the smallest weight (hindrance) is worth removing. If you are like me, it is easy to picture some weight. If the Father brings something to your mind, commit right now to “throw it off”. Remember, where He gives us instructions, He gives us capacity to accomplish the instruction through His Spirit. Our race will not conclude until heaven, but the leaner we run, the more He is glorified.

Be open to the Father’s counsel about what is hindering you. He cares!

<< Note: Our next article will deal with the next part of this great verse. >>

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