I am going to do something that I haven’t done before. I have been reading through Hebrews lately and I decided to take chapter 12 and blog through it. I was in my room tonight and reading it and was struck by how it is such a great chapter of scripture. So I hope you guys will like my study on Hebrews 12 for the next few posts. J
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
This is a very wonderful verse, and one that most are familiar with. I want to start by pointing out the first part of this verse, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,”. We are being looked at the see if we are living lives that are holy and worthy of respect. Non Christians and Christians alike are looking to us to see if we are living what we are preaching and following Jesus, whom we claim to love and serve. Also, in my (awesome) study Bible it says in it’s footnotes, “The readers are in effect running a race before a great cloud of people who have already finished the race with honors. Their example encourages the readers, and admonishes them if they stumble.” According to this, it means that the Christians in heaven are cheering us on! That is such an encouraging and uplifting thought. They know that life is tough and they know how hard it is to stay faithful to God until the end, so they are rooting for us to finish the race. It is such a wonderful thought!
“let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” We are commanded by the Bible to live holy and blameless lives. God says to be “Holy as I am holy”. To do that we must rip off our sin and remove it from us. At fall retreat at camp last year, our devotions one day were on this passage. My counselor used the this illustration: she had this big, long, heavy cape/cloak that she had made. It would be not only hard, but foolish, to run a race with her huge cloak on. She would be tripping and falling and getting all tangled up in it. In order to run a race she would have to take off the cloak and the weight that it had. That is probably one of the best metaphors of this concept I have ever heard.
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” This life is going to be a long, hard road. To live life in our fallen world takes endurance and strength. There are so many times, even in the course of one day, that we just want to give up. But DON’T LOSE HEART. We have a prize that is at the finish line that is beyond our wildest dreams and hopes! We have Jesus waiting for us as it says in the very next verse! (Which we wont get into yet.) The prize is well worth the hard work, much more so than an Olympic medal is worth all the long years of training.
So remember that we are surrounded by not only people who are looking at us to see if we are doing a good job, but also people that are up in heaven cheering us on. Also, we are to fling off any and all sin that is in our lives so that we may run the race, for which we will get the most glorious prize in the end! I want to just encourage those of you who are already running this wonderful race by putting your faith in Jesus Christ, to not give up and to “keep on keeping on”. Those of you who have not put your faith in Jesus, please talk to me. Soli Deo Gloria!