Therefore, since we are surrounded by a such a great crowd 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.
I was recently in training for a long-distance running race. Running is not really my thing, so it took a great deal of effort to motivate myself to get out onto the paths around my home, and even more to get to a point where I could see myself making any real progress in terms of achieving the distance and improving my time. I quickly learnt, however, that actually worrying whether I would be able to run the distance prevented me from achieving my goal. What I needed to do, I discovered, was to just go for it – forget my worries, and just try and enjoy the running.
Just as training for a race requires perseverance, so too does the Christian life. The writer of Hebrews here regards our daily walk with God not so much as a walk, but a run, and a long distance one at that, which requires real dedication. We should cast aside everything that hampers us in this race, we are told, and just go for it. To support us, we should listen to all those around us who are cheering us on – our Christian friends and family, our churches, and those Christians who have gone before us. They are all rooting for us, cheering us on as we run our race with God.
Why not reflect today on how you are performing in the race that is the Christian life? How is your training? Are you fueling yourself with God’s word? Are you listening to the guidance of the Spirit as you navigate the route that has been marked out for you? Are you open to encouragement and advice from the witnesses around you?
Maybe reflect too on how you are bearing up as a witness. Are you encouraging your fellow athletes in the race that God has marked out for them? Are you a supportive witness?
Let’s all aim today to throw off anything that hinders our Christian life and the sin that prevents us from running, and support each other as we run the Christian race together.
Originally published 1st September 2009. Redrafted 3rd February 2015.