At certain times of the year, I swear I can still smell cross country and track season. It takes me back to the determination before meets, the focus I had, the seriousness of the race for me. And for a brief moment I think I could just take off and run two back to back 6:00 minute miles.
Actually, this is more like it:
Although my mile times have changed,
Hebrews 12:1 says,
"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."
If you are a Christian, if you have accepted Jesus' love and made him your Lord, then you are meant to be running a spiritual race. But I know that, at times, we find ourselves on this proverbial track, at the starting line, sitting on our tush. And we just can't seem to get ourselves up and moving! We just can't seem to make a movement, as if we are paralyzed. I know that sometimes it's fear, like I talked about here. But, according to God's word in Hebrews 12, there are other reasons why we might feel slow, or immovable.
Check out the second part of verse 1 in two different translations:
"let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." NIV
"let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely" ESV
If you are feeling unmotivated, or sluggish, towards Jesus and this race He created for you, maybe you need to take a look at what could be weighing you down, or tripping you up.
I'm not talking about literal weight, I'm sure you caught onto that. But Hebrews says that, along our Christian race, there are encumbrances and sins that slow us down. There are weights that trip up our feet, and hinder us from the race Jesus has for us.
When I was a teenager, my constant struggle was vanity. I was obsessed with my body. I wanted so badly to be pretty, and skinny. I knew that God loved me, and I knew without a doubt that he had me on the track to run for Him. I wanted to tell others about His love. But Satan knew my weakness, and he would throw the distraction of my body and my weight at me, and it would distract me from running my race.
Now, 10 years later, standing in the same love and purpose of God, I want so badly to run unhindered for Jesus! I pop out of bed in the morning with motivation and excitement to get out there and tell everyone that God's love changes everything! And so I sprint off into Denver, or cyberspace, or youth group, but I start worrying what people think about me. I start comparing myself to the other women around me. and SMACK. I find myself tripped up, facedown, on the track of life.
Ever been there? (Somebody say yes, please.)
What is it for you?
Is vanity hanging onto your ankles?
Do you have a growing list of enemies and hatred or anger could be hindering your ability to run for Jesus?
Are you trying to run two races at once--the race for Jesus, but then the race for popularity or a boyfriend? (It's kinda impossible to run two races at once, huh?)
If you are a daughter of God, He has placed you on the track and He has a race for you. When we understand how loved we are, and what great purposes He has for us, we MOVE! We run the race of faith, with our eyes fixed on our coach and motivator, Jesus.
Because he ran the race too. With YOU in mind, Jesus left heaven, and came to earth. He knew that he would be rejected, doubted, and ridiculed. But with YOU in mind, He came anyway. He came and He served. He pointed to God and He made a bridge between sinful us and Holy God. With your face in his mind's eye, He laid down his own life, allowed himself to look like a fool, was beaten, and He became that bridge for us.
That was his race. He knew the joy on the other side of obedience, he knew their would be joy at the finish line. So he ran his race, he endured it. He endured being shamed, he ran through curses, and hostility, and loneliness. He ran his race. For you, sister.
Because He loved you.
And because of that, we can run, girls! We can run our race! Let's throw off everything that slows us down---comparing ourselves, gossip, and vanity. Let's strip down to our running gear. Let's clear the track of distractions---popularity, boys that distract from Jesus, or perfection. And let's move.
On your mark….get set….