I was telling my friends about the fire service and what it takes to hold a “red card” for wild-land firefighting. I talked about a fifty pound weighted vest worn while walking three-miles within 45 minutes. These weighted vests have multiple slots for each weight, which then totals up to fifty pounds. Let’s read the following Scripture and think about this weighted vest.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1)
What must we do to be able to run?
A) Just start running
B) Just run with the weight
C) Lay aside every weight
What is it that clings so closely?
A) My running partner
B) My clothing
C) My sin
It’s only when we lay aside every weight can we begin to run! Is this not something to be excited about? Every weight and sin which “clings” so closely. I can’t imagine trying to run with this weighty vest, or with sin clinging so close. Now as we “lay aside” every weight and sin that clings we are able to run! But what are we running toward, the finish line? Yes! The Finnish line makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? Please read the next Scripture with me and answer the question.
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2)
What word is used to show how Jesus ran His race?
A) I don’t understand the question
B) He never ran a race
C) He endured the cross
Do you see the focus? Can you see the difference in posture here? The weighted vest has kept our face downward, unable to “look” to Jesus, the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” He is the finish line! He is the focus! He is the perfecter! My head is up now! The weight of sin has been lifted. I can now look upward running with focus the race set before me.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:3)
Jesus Christ ran the race, “endured” from sinners, with much “hostility,” and yet was not weary or fainthearted in doing the will of His Father. Yes He did say “Father take this cup,” followed by, “but not my will, but yours be done.”
We are in a race of endurance. A race which fills our lungs with pain from the long distance run. Fills our legs with aches and makes us weary and fainthearted. But look at this final verse and be honest with yourself. How hard have you ran? Have you felt the pain of the things which cling and weigh down your soul?
4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood (Hebrews 12:4)
This resistance is going to bring pain. It’s going to be tough. It is not for the weary. It is not for the fainthearted. It is for those who lay aside those things which drag the soul down and look to Jesus who painfully ran the race with his eyes straight ahead toward the prize!
Author: Erick Hurt
From a slave to sin–to freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1). From an abusive husband verbally and physically–to loving my wife as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25). Now an Elder at Family Bible Church, I speak, teach, and preach with the same passion I once had for sin. I work as a volunteer for Setting Captives Free ministry as a mentor and mentor coordinator helping people become freed from the grip of sin. Visit www.settingcaptivesfree.com.