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.
The writer of Hebrews may have had an idea of what it meant to participate in the Olympics. During those days, athletes typically wore very little dress as they competed. They didn’t want clothing, or other things such as excess body weight or hair, to hinder them as they completed their activity. If you think about it, this is still the case today – athletes wear small amount of spandex or swimwear because they don’t want to encumber themselves with extra weight or clothing flopping around.
So today’s short devotion is asking us to evaluate in our lives, what extra weight are we carrying? What’s extra that’s hanging around in our lives that’s causing us to not be. The verse says to throw off the things that hinder us AND the sin that entangles. In other words, we have to throw off some things that actually AREN’T sins in our lives. We all know that sin grabs us, seeps in to us, and exists in us. So we got that part, but I wonder what are those other things that hinder us. They may even be things that are GOOD! I wonder what things in life might hold us back from being more excellent in our lives…committees, commitments, relationships, those sorts of things. I’ve learned that good things in life can indeed become NOT good things in life!
The 2nd sentence of this verse is put into the Bible to encourage us and challenge us, but one in which we can reside in confidence. So the author encourages us by saying “Let US run…” in other words, it’s not an imperative statement staying “YOU DO THIS”. It’s a “WE can do this!” type of encouragement statement, because the author realizes that we are all in this thing call life together.
The other part of the sentence reminds us that the race has already been marked out for us. We can have confidence that God has already established the plan for our lives. He built the course, and what a crazy course it is, right? There are difficult times for sure. But it’s our job to run with steady confidence and enthusiasm during that race. And to trust that the course that is set out will lead us to our goal.
So what is throwing you “off course” and hindering you? Is it a sin? or perhaps is it something good, that is just slowing down your progress toward living a more God-filled life.
Finally, Hebrews 12:2 completes the sentence of Hebrews 12:1: And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…fixing our eyes on Jesus.