Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so easily, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder, and perfector of our faith…
Who are these witnesses?
One meaning of “witness” is- one who gives evidence of.
The writer is referring to the saints in Hebrews 11 who by their faith serve as witnesses to our faith. They are our examples of living by faith. Their lives are a testimony of the faithfulness of God and are there to encourage us in our walk of faith.
We are to be encouraged by Abel’s sacrifice of faith. Noah’s righteous obedience; Abraham’s faithful following. Moses’ faithful leadership and all the other faithful’s mentioned.
Let us lay aside every weight
NLT says; let us strip off every weight that slows us down…
Life can bring along many weights. We, therefore, have to learn to strip off any weight that slows us down in our walk of faith. An example of a weight we can carry is the cares of this life. the care of what to eat or drink, what to wear, among other things can become a weight that hinders us in our faith.
How do we strip off this weight?
By casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you carefully].1 Peter 5:7 AMP
We strip off every weight by bringing them to God. When we don’t take it to God we end up being weighed down and hindered in our race.
The sin that clings so easily
Good things can become entangling sin if we are not careful. The enemy is crafty, he doesn’t outrightly chain us with something. It alwalys begins as little harmless fun. A year down the line you find yourself unable to break free from something that started as a little fun.
That’s why Peter warns us, Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 ESV
Being sober-minded can mean being well-balanced and self-disciplined in all things. We will not be easily entangled by sin if we are well-balanced and self-disciplined in everything.
Paul also says, “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful, “but not all things build up. 1 Corinthians 10:23
Some things are not bad but they are not beneficial to our faith. Some things will not be sin but they will not edify our spiritual growth or lead us closer to God.
Anything that doesn’t lead me closer to God will ultimately become an entangling sin if I’m not careful.Tweet
Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us
Do you know that you are in a race that has been specifically marked out for you? Do you know that your race is unique to the call and the gifting operating in your life? Because my race is unique, I cannot copy or try to run someone else’s race. I have no grace for that.
Have you ever looked at someone’s life or calling or gifting and said, “I wish I could do that,” “I want to do that” ? Well, you can only run your race; the one God has set before you.
We will be frustrated and exhausted if we try to run a race that hasn’t been marked out for us. But when we run our race the grace we need is available for us.
We have to run to win
Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 1 Corinthians 9:24
Our running is not against other people. We are running to finish what God has set before us. We are also running to win against the enemy who would like to distract and remove us from the race.
We are to run with endurance
Miriam Webster defines “endurance” as –the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; especially the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.
The race requires endurance. We will face some difficult things along the way. Some things will not work out the way we hoped. Other things will take longer than we want them to, endurance is required to run the race well.
If you start this race without understanding that difficulties will come because of your faith. You will become discouraged and fall away. Many Christians have been offended by the difficulties that come because of faith and have gone back. But we are not those who go back. We are the ones who run our race and are running to the end and to win.
Looking to Jesus
Amplified says, looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus…
Where is your focus? Are you distracted? What we focus on will determine whether we run this race to win or give up on the way. If we focus on anything other than Jesus we will be distracted from our race.
We aren’t told to fix our eyes on those who have gone before us (they are great examples but they can’t be our focus). We are also not told to focus on those who are running beside us (we can encourage each other) but they aren’t our focus. It’s only when we focus on Jesus are we able to run our race without distractions.
The founder and the perfector of our faith
Jesus is the beginner and the finisher of our faith. I rested when I realized it’s not up to me to perfect my own faith, that’s Jesus’ job.
People will have opinions of how we should run. They will have opinions on what we should be doing but we have to look away from them and look to Jesus. He is the only one who knows where we are going. Refuse to be distracted by people who don’t know where you started nor where you are going. Tune out all the other voices so you can run your race well.
The race becomes easier when we understand how we are meant to run. Sis, I pray that as you do this bible study you will be encouraged to keep running and to run your race to the end. Keep running He is so worth it!