Monday, April 15, 2013

Run with endurance

Hebrews 12:1-2
1 Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God's throne.

The writer of Hebrews called out something other than sin to lay aside, and that really stood out to me. Verse 1 encourages us to lay aside every "weight" along with the sin that easily ensnares us. I see a picture of a someone training for a race that wears weights around his ankles and wrists, and maybe a backpack as well. A former boss of mine used to train for hiking up strenuous mountain trails by filling a backpack full of bottles of water and then climbing 12 flights of stairs over and over again. When it came time to actually climb the mountain trails, he wasn't doing so with 30 lbs of water on his back! He set that aside and hiked unencumbered, and he was stronger and was able to endure the climb because of his training.

God uses the hardships of our lives to make us more Christlike (Romans 8:28-29). But sometimes, rather than laying aside these training tools when the time comes for running the race, we hang on to these hardships, and they become burdens that weigh us down. It's different with sin. Sin is a pothole or fallen tree or mass of vines that we have to keep an eye out for as we run this race so that it doesn't trip us up. But how much more difficult is it to do that if we are trying to run with a backpack full of emotional baggage? 

Failed relationships, wounds from our childhood, unhealthy desires for the praise and approval of others, sins others committed against us, these are all things that weigh us down. 

Today is a new day, and you can either run today's race unencumbered in the joy and strength of the Lord, or you can put on a backpack full of all the past hurts you have experienced. Lay aside the weight, and run with endurance.

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