“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Isn’t it interesting that this verse says “strip off every weight that slows us down, ESPECIALLY the sin…”? Does this mean that there are things that hinder and slow me down that are not sin? As I consider this, I notice two things.
First, I feel freedom. Being analytical and a perfectionist, I try very hard to obey rules – especially where it earns the favour of others. Sad but true. I also tend to analyze my every thought and action to make sure it aligns with those rules. It’s exhausting.
This implication - that not all that keeps me from God is necessarily sin - releases me from measuring everything. It’s not ALWAYS about ‘to sin or not to sin’; it’s about relationship with Jesus. It’s about pleasing or knowing him.
I believe that what ‘slows us down’ does cost us the rewards God has prepared for us though. For example, if I had listened when He told me to stand up in church for no apparent reason … well, who knows the blessing that would have followed? I’ll never know. I missed it. It doesn’t mean my salvation is in jeopardy, it means that I missed some of God’s planned blessings for me. … it also might mean others missed out on blessing too because of what I did…
The second thing I notice is that I feel compelled to seek and please Jesus.
Being hindered or distracted may not be ‘sin’, but it does affect my relationship with him. How can I effectively ‘run the race’ if I’m not continually training for it? My endurance and motivation depend completely on the One for whom I race.
It’s interesting. It’s like these few words challenge me to change my focus completely. Yes, rules and people are important and useful, but they’re not where my focus should be. I should focus on ‘running the race’ – on knowing and pleasing Jesus. It’s a shift from being motivated by fear to love. Wow. Praise the Lord!
Some Helpful Verses:
And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.
John 4: 18,19
Thank you, Jesus, for revealing this to me. Please let it sink deep into my heart that I would never forget it. Help me to walk in your love instead of fear of punishment. Lord, I want to stand boldly before you, knowing that I ran the race and pleased my Jesus. Thank you for leading me to grow in your love. Thank you for training me. I love you Jesus! I praise you for your amazing work in my heart! Amen.