Hebrews 12:1-3, “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, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Every year, 50,000 contestants gear up to run the 26.2-mile course through all five boroughs of NYC. The best competitors hydrate, consume the right nutrients and work hard to eliminate any excess weight that might impede their speed and endurance. You may be thinking, “Wow, that’s great! But why are you telling me this? I don’t even like to run!” Well, whether you realize it or not, you’re already running in a marathon called life.It’s said that we are the sum total of our decisions — choices that either propel us forward or leave us lagging behind. And, unfortunately, many of us “choose” the latter. We inch forward, bearing the unnecessary burden of a backpack full of bricks. We carry the bricks of misplaced priorities, unconfessed sin, fear, toxic relationships, and past regrets. But Jesus didn’t endure the cross for us to merely survive with the weighty consequences of bad decisions — He died to lighten our load as we thrive in freedom!Training starts the moment we’re willing to remove any excess weight, and “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” And, right now, God’s saying, “Take off your backpack and get rid of the bricks!”It’s time to leave our backpacks on the track and fix our eyes on Jesus! As we learn to say “Yes” to God’s best, and “No” to unwise decisions, He heals our hearts and transforms our minds. And through the daily sustenance of God’s Word, we lose the excess weight to secure victory with a "great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on as we cross the finish line of faith!
Whenever you face an important decision or feel like giving in to temptation, ask yourself this question, “Will this hinder me from living out God’s best?” If the answer is “yes,” turn from it, put on your running shoes, and finish the race marked out for you in Christ.
Lord Jesus, I choose to fix my eyes on You. I want to run freely, unencumbered by past burdens. Guide my thoughts and decisions to do what’s right in Your eyes! Amen.