“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
I’ve never been much of a runner. I tried to train for a 5k once and I eventually was able to run up to 3 miles, but I hated every single minute of it. Running was hard, my heart was rarely into it and I always found a way to talk myself out of training. So it fills my heart with joy that this verse in Hebrews isn’t talking about us literally running a physical race (praise God!). Our race is spiritual. But running a spiritual race is no less difficult than running a physical race!
The author of Hebrews tells us that there are things that hinder and entangle us in our race. Those things can look like: sin, disobedience, entitlement, pride, self-pity, fear, doubt, condemnation, lies, gluttony, distraction, complacency, negative self-talk, rebellion- none of these things are from God and they all hinder our forward momentum in our race. And we are called to throw them off. We are called to cast off those things that hold us back, weigh us down, hinder our progress and cause us to stumble in our race. The author of Hebrews doesn’t tell us to accept them, live with them, hold onto them, excuse them or wallow in them! Throw that junk away! Toss it aside! Banish it from your life! Shake it off! Get rid of it!
Can you imagine how quickly a runner would quit a race if he had dozens of heavy bags of garbage hanging around his neck? I doubt he would go 100 yards before collapsing and calling it quits! The same is true for us in our Thin Within journey. It’s going to be pretty tough to maintain our forward progress if we are weighed down by false beliefs, lies from the enemy (“you’re no good at this, just quit, you’ll always be overweight, this is too hard, you’re a failure”), rebellious attitudes or sin. Imagine how much easier the race is without being weighed down with all that stuff!
So how in the world do we throw off the things that hinder and entangle us, so that we can run our race? Luckily for us, the very next verse has our answer: “let us run with perseverance…fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Jesus has the power to speak truth over us. Jesus can set us free from the lies. Jesus can strengthen us in our weakness. Jesus forgives our sin, washing us clean. Jesus can change our hearts, our minds, our attitudes and our actions. Jesus can pick us off the ground, remove the bags of garbage that are hanging around our necks and set us back on our path. Jesus can set us free to run our race! Jesus can do all of this. We need only ask. We need only fix our eyes on Him.
Our race is serious business. So let’s get serious about casting off all the things that hinder us. Let’s get serious about praying consistently against all the junk that holds us back and keeps us on the sidelines. Let’s get serious about coming to Jesus and asking for healing, deliverance, hope and restoration. Let’s get serious about fighting all the lies we have believed by daily renewing our minds and speaking God’s truth over ourselves. Let’s shake off everything that hinders us so that we might run our race with freedom and victory!
How about you? What things do you need to shake off? Can you identify anything that is slowing down your forward progress? Are you diligently praying against the things that hold you back? Are your eyes fixed on Jesus or are you distracted by all the things that try to hold you back? What steps do you need to take to get rid of the junk that is hindering your race?