“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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” – Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses
Therefore, meaning mentioned previously, refers most likely to Hebrews 11 and the account of the faithful leadership before them. This is still relevant. Think about the faithful leaders who have gone before you, those who have mentored you, and those that are leaders presently in your lives. These are your cloud of witnesses. Their faith is evident by their lives; by their actions and their words. We too, are part of someone else’s ‘cloud of witnesses.’
Let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles
That doesn’t say let us casually place aside the things that hinder us so that we may pick them back up later. No, it says let us throw off everything that hinders us. As an intransitive verb, hinder, means to delay, impede or prevent action. So let us throw away everything that impedes our relationship with God or prevents us from taking the actions God has called us to take. And let us throw away the sin that entangles us; the sin that further complicates and twists our already complicated lives. So, let us rid our lives of everything that stops progress from taking place in our relationship with God.
And let us run with perseverance
Let us run, not inadvertently walk away. We’re not talking about a casual stroll, a jog around the neighborhood, or a speedy 40-yard dash. We’re talking about putting your head down, grinding out an intense mental, emotional and physical battle. We’re talking about being steadfast through persecution, enduring hardships, and all types of adversity, oppression and opposition. Let us run with tenacity!
The race marked out for us
The race is a representation of our lives. This race, our lives, is to be run in a way that glorifies God. He laid out every single step for us before our mother even gave birth to us! He has a purpose and a plan for every moment of our lives; it’s up to us to follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance or to follow the world’s. Here are some examples in the NT speaking about the race:
- Acts 20:24
- 1 Corinthians 9:24
- Galatians 2:2
- Galatians 5:7
- 1 Timothy 4:7
Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith
We can watch, learn and imitate our elders in trying to follow Christ as they did. We can make countless personal modifications to better ourselves for God. We can flee from sin and try to maintain a holy lifestyle. We can run this race called life and not succumb to the pressures of this world, however, unless we keep our eyes fixed and focused on Jesus, it’s all in vain. It’s not about us! Jesus said in Luke 14:11, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He is the author, or creator of our faith. He is the perfecter, or expert and master of our faith. If you don’t keep Him numero uno, you’ll never be congratulated when you finish the race!
Are you willing to undergo a heart transformation today to put Jesus first and foremost in your life?