Summary: God wants us to run the race of faith to victory
RUN, RUN, RUN!
I don’t know who the author of Hebrews is, but I think that he would be right at home in front of a big screen television watching the Superbowl next Sunday, that is if he had not already purchased tickets. Why? Take a look at the first few verses of the twelfth chapter. We are introduced to a powerful athletic metaphor in which the Christian life is compared to a race.
If you know Jesus then you are a participant.
You are already running, whether you realize or not. (Turn to the person next to you and tell them, “You are in a race”.)
The issue is not if we are running but how we are running.
I do not know which race this author of Hebrews had in mind. I don’t know if he was thinking of a sprint, long distance or a marathon. I don’t know about you but being a Christian is often like an obstacle course, more than anything else. In any case we are told to run unhindered.
Ill. Can you imagine what it would be like to be at a track meet waiting for the start of the 100 meter race? Gathered together are the top runners from across the world. Fractions of a second separate these runners. While the marathon is a test of stamina and endurance, the 100 meters is an explosion of power that is over in less than ten seconds. If you have ever run the sprints you know that there is little room for error. Often a race is won in the start itself. But imagine that as the runners come to the blocks that something seems strange about the world record holder. You pick up your binoculars to get a better view and what you see doesn’t make any since. Strapped around his ankles are 25 pound weights. For what ever reason, he has decided to run with this extra load. There is no way he is going to win.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
The words used here mean to lay aside anything, any obstacle any impediment that would hinder your running. Take it off! Strip down. Get rid of any sinful thought, action, habit, or relationship. Sin will trip you up and cause you to fall. Ancient track competition like today demanded intense practice. Olympic athletes had to swear that they had undergone ten months of rigorous training before competing. The last month head to be under the stern eye of an Olympic instructor. They disciplined themselves to remove unwanted body weight and when they computed they ran almost naked. We also are to remove anything in our lives that hinders our running.
Ill. There is a terrible story about a man who went out to play golf early one Saturday morning. His wife became concerned when he had not returned home by dinner time. It wasn’t until about midnight when he came through the front door, exhausted.
“Where have you been?” she demanded
“I’ve been playing golf” came the reply.
“But that was 18 hours ago. What happened?”
“I was having the best game of my life. I was two under par when on the seventh tee Harry had a heart attack and died.” His wife still didn’t understand.