You might have seen athletes take off their outer sports jackets before they run. This is to reduce the weight on their body so that they can run more fast and with ease. The Christian life here (Hebrews 12:1) is shown as a race happening under the expectant eyes of spectators. This scene is not hard to imagine as most of us have seen athletes in action in a crowded stadium.
Who are these spectators? Who are these athletes? What are they doing?These spectators are people of faith who had gone to heaven before us. They are called a cloud of witnesses. We are surrounded by them. Though we cannot see them, their examples of faith encourage us to run our race well. When we lose heart in our race, remember that these spectators too had their moments of doubt, discouragement, and despair. Yet they never gave up. They completed the race. Now their example pushes us on to run well and finish strong in our race.
There are three helpful things to be done:
#1 Throw off everything that makes it difficult to run the race. To a Christian it calls forth for an honest evaluation of how time, talent and treasure is spent. Is your time spent for worldly entertainment? Cut short the time you spent for it. Is your talent being used for events or programmes that don’t bring glory to God? Then pull out from them and focus on godly events or programmes. Is your money spent to accumulate things? Find out how many of the things you buy are absolutely essential.
And included along with these is sin that entangles. That means sin that traps you again and again. Certain wrong habits, negative attitudes, speech patterns, substance abuse, viewing or reading wrong kinds of sexual pictures and literature; all fall under this category. Such kinds of sin are to be thrown off.
#2 The above kinds of things are thrown off to enable you to run with perseverance. Your life is one long race. You need to persevere to complete this race. That means that there will be difficulties to be dealt with, tiredness to be overcome, distractions to be avoided etc. Sometimes the race seems to be unrewarding. But all this is part of the race. You need to keep on running. Yes, keep on running.
#3 Keep on running is not going to be achieved unless you know your goal. What is your aim? Is your eyes fixed on your goal? The focus of your eyes should be on Jesus. Look to Him more and more. Then life’s race becomes worth running. He Himself is your reward.