Today I decided to journal yesterday’s sermon that our Pastor delivered. He spoke on “Running Your Race”, highlighting Hebrews 12:1-2. “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. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (NLT)
I was talking to someone who wasn’t completely sure they understood what that meant, and so I tried my best to help them understand. Later, I looked over my notes from the sermon and several things caught my attention, causing me to think more about them. First, once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we begin the race “set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) Our goal is to finish the race, to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14 NASB)
Have you ever watched a foot race on a track field? My brother ran track in high school. There was very rigorous training. He would practice with weights, trying to run as fast as he could, yet have the endurance to finish the race. On the day of the race, the weights came off so that he could run as fast as he could with the goal to win that race. So, we are to let go of things that could hinder us in our race. Our Pastor said those things could be sin, but they could also be things that are not listed as sinful. “Weights,” he said, “are anything that holds you back.” Anything that seems to plague us, things we deal with and are struggling to overcome.
Secondly, we are to focus on our own race … don’t worry about someone running their race, focus on what you are doing. In a race, you must not get distracted by the other runners, focus on YOUR race. Another thing, stay in your own lane. In a track race, if the racer drifts over into another racer’s lane, they are disqualified. Also, racers keep their eyes fixed on the finish line, they don’t look back to see where the other racers are in comparison to where they are. If they look behind them, they can easily get distracted, drift into another lane, lose track of the pace they have set, and end up losing their race.
Spiritually, if we don’t focus on our “finish line” – Jesus – we won’t finish well at the end of the race.
Another thing is, that we need to deal with those weights because they will slow us down. Take time to get into God’s word, have a daily quiet time with Him, so that we can keep our focus and remove those things that are weighing us down. Take time to have a time of refreshing, whether it’s a Bible Study, Church service, or just listening to Christian music in an attitude of worship, take that time to reconnect with God.
Weights will also slow us down. Worship is to re-energize us. We are not to be weary. Weights can make us become weary as we try to run carrying all those things that we were never meant to carry. Come before the Lord with a joyful heart, focusing on who God is and what He has done for us. That, in itself, should make us light-hearted and energized.
Lastly, the weights we carry can make us lose our focus. We get so hung up on trying to run this race carrying all those things that trip us up, that our focus gets redirected from Jesus to the weight. Satan takes advantage of those weights. He may not be able to read our thoughts, but he can hear what we say and sees what we do, and he uses those to his advantage and attacks us in the weak areas of our lives. Carrying those weights can give us a divided focus, which makes it much easier for the enemy to take advantage of our weak moments.
So, we need to take the time to deal with those weights, those “little foxes that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15), that weigh us down and keep us from finishing our race well. How well are you running your race?