Focus and Run the Race Well

Have you ever been somewhere, when you feel like you’re being watched? You look around, only to find out that, indeed, you are?!?

“As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses around us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us.”

Hebrews 12:1 GNT

“[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, Who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], Who, for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].”

Hebrews 12:2 AB

I know we dug in a bit to these verses a few months ago, but the LORD made it clear that He wanted me to revisit them in this post…with additional treasures to uncover.

You may have heard this verse in a translation that says, “a CLOUD of witnesses.” This word, translated “cloud” and “crowd,” DOES mean “crowd,” or a multitude that’s closely compacted. Think of a race, where all the runners are tightly packed together. If the person in front of you trips, slips, falls, stops, or is going slow, your race is going to be hindered. Similarly, in this race we call “life,” there are those around us who are witnesses to how we run. In fact, the word for “witnesses” actually refers to someone who knows by seeing and/or hearing.

Think of who is around you at varying times during your week, seeing the way you act and what you do, hearing what you say, how you say it, and what you talk about. What are they witnessing?
Is how you act and speak hindering others’ race?

This verse goes on to say that we should place away from us EVERYTHING that is weighing us down. The meaning of the Greek word, here, means that it’s a mass that is heavy and bends you over.

Years ago, I traveled to visit a friend of mine and stay with her and her family. During my time there, we journeyed to many places I’d never been. One day, the two of us and her kiddos went hiking along beautiful, wooded trails with several breathtaking views of water falls. One of her daughters was young, so my friend carried her on her back, during the entire hike, in a backpack-type carrier. Her daughter started out fairly light, but as the trek went longer and longer, I could tell her daughter was feeling heavier and heavier on her back. She still trudged along with perseverance, but her energy was visibly draining; her climbing began to gradually slow. Any of you who have had a little one on your back for any length of time on a trek can relate; I’m sure! It’s tough to run…or even traverse long roads…with a heavy load, weighing you down.

Many times in our lives, we weigh ourselves down with what we deem as important in addition to sin. We may not really pay attention to them at first or think they’re that big of a deal, yet one thing leads to another. Before long, we feel the tremendous weight of our choices (I’m NOT including kids in those choices, if my previous story sounds like that!!). Sometimes, we want to rid ourselves of the weight, but we feel pressure from somewhere to keep carrying it…or it just seems to hang onto us so tightly!

Is what’s important to you important to God?
Are there any sins hanging onto you, like heavy weights around your ankles, leaving you exhausted and struggling to keep moving forward?

This is where determination and pursuit come in! We need to focus our eyes on Jesus and finish strong, as He did. There is joy in finishing well, in pursuing well, in being so determined to finish well that the choice between putting sin and the weight of what we think is important in its place (on the side of the road…away from us) is a no-brainer.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I catch myself gazing at my circumstance. I’m thankful the LORD, through His Spirit, loves me enough to redirect me. It’s like He gently takes my face and turns it toward Himself…and I see His eyes…and I’m captivated! I don’t want to miss another thing He has to show me!

Where is your gaze?

I pray your eyes lock with His, and He gives you new strength. I pray He energizes you to continue moving toward the ultimate goal–to bring Him glory! Run well, Liv sibs! Run well!

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