Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
12 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, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
We can see that these verse in chapter 12 are linked to what the author talks about in chapter 11. The “Therefore…” is the hinge that connects two themes together.
The previous chapter talks about all the heroes of the faith. It has become common to call them the heroes of faith, but actually what we start to see is that they are really the benchmark of faith. We read that “Because of faith they responded obediently.” This is what every believer should display.
Why do we need to know about these examples of faith? Firstly, to show that Jesus is our greatest example of faith in action, He is the hero of faith. Secondly, because Jesus is not only an example of faith but also the author and perfecter of our faith.
Let’s get back to the “Therefore…”. Therefore, since we have all these great examples, since we have the knowledge, since we know Jesus, let us too be people of faith in action and obedience. We are given two action points to implement here in verses 1 and 2. We need to Get rid of dead weight and Continue with endurance.
Get rid of dead weight
Christ followers are instructed to lose the dead weight of those things that try to draw our attention away from God. These are things that not only hold us back, but they actually impact our endurance.
If you have ever watched a sport called CrossFit, then you would know a little about endurance. This is an extreme sport that requires strength, stamina and high endurance.
There is a competition called the Reebok CrossFit games and one of the events that they do is called the vest triplet, where they wear a weighted vest while running, doing some squats and jumping exercises. Just about anyone can do these activities. What makes it extreme is the weighted vest that they are required to wear. Even a simple task can become difficult and draining when you have extra weight.
There are many who fall away, give up on their faith because they carry around extra weight. We can carry around bitterness, selfishness, rebelliousness, resentment (This is not exhaustive). There is a very real chance that if you have one of these weights you will find the others will be added along the journey because they are closely linked. Resentment = bitterness = selfishness = rebellion).
Is there something that you need to lay down? Lay down the weights that you might be carrying.
Continue with endurance
Once we get rid of the weights that affect our endurance, then we need to run with endurance.
Notice that we are told to run the race that is set before us. Run our own race. It’s a race where we need to display faith through obedience and relationship to God, which requires strength, stamina, and endurance.
Gabriella Andersen Schiess (a former marathon runner) said: Endurance means that… “you will have to get over some bad experiences and not dwell on it and just look forward and learn something from it.” This can only happen when we fix our eyes on Jesus, knowing what our end goal is. Our end goal is to please God.
Read Hebrews 12:2
Faith is invisible yet evident. You can’t see it (Heb 11:1), but you can show it (James 2:18)
Our faith-based endurance capacity can only grow when we lay down those things that weigh us down and focus on Jesus.
Is there something you need to lay down?
Let me encourage you to continually re-focus on Jesus, remove those things that can weight us down and impact our endurance.
… and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…
In faith, hope, and love
Steve and Cass Abram