Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 5, 2009

throwing off, part 2

Marathons are a grueling test. The race course is mapped out. Some runners excel, and others just try to endure. A bit of memory jogging may take you back to the 1980 Boston Marathon, won by Rosie Ruiz who lost her title for cheating. Obviously, the 26.2 mile journey was to be run completely. But as was reported in the Boston Globe, Rosie was not seen on the course until she sneaked in near the end. Just as marathoners should run the race marked out for them, believers in Christ have been given a course. Our course was marked out by the Father, and He will give us the capacity to endure any and all hard turns and heartbreak hills. A look at Hebrews 12:1 set in the context of a race, gives us our training instructions.

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.

Our last post focused on throwing off anything that would hinder us as we run the race the Father has for us. Ancient runners would have easily understood running lean. Excess weight or too much clothing would have slowed them down. On the spiritual marathon excesses that hinder should be removed. Be honest with yourself and with God! As a continuation of our focus on throwing off “everything that hinders”, there is a critical “and” that follows. The Word continues and completes the throwing off instructions with … “and the sin that so easily entangles”. There is no mention of a specific sin, and the reference could be sin in general. However, the language could refer to a particular sin; a more personal sin. Maybe specific, particular and personal to you. Either way, the Word is clear, get rid of it!

Every person reading this post can relate to a personally entangling sin. Picture yourself running a race and all of sudden your feet get caught up in something. Even if you don’t fall, your pace is definitely slowed. When I (or you) let a particular sin continue to entangle my life, spiritual pace is slowed. And sometimes there is a fall, and sometimes it’s a hard one. Right now you can commit that sin to the forgiving grace of God, and begin running with a renewed pace. From my study, it looks as if one particular sin is referenced, and it appears to be that of unbelief. Doubting God and living by faith contradict each other. Although as pilgrims on a journey we can easily move from faith to doubt, choose by a choice of your will to trust His plan and His Word, and ultimately, Him. Let the joy of knowing that God will give us release from burdens as we throw off those things that hinder, cause us to “just do it”.

Our Hebrews verse ends with a reference to perseverance. Perseverance is needed for the remainder of our spiritual marathons. You have endured some hard turns already, and there will be new hills to climb. Running lean, with renewed vigor will be a tremendous asset as you keep running. Knowing that the Father has set “the race marked out for us” should give us the confidence that we will finish. How will you finish?

Running lean, minus the excess weight of hindrances and sin equals God being glorified. And think about the finish line … Heaven!

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