Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. – Hebrews 12:1
Today, thousands of runners and walkers will trek the streets of Boston with one mission uniting them–finishing the race marked out for them. Some of these runners, from places like Kenya, will sprint through the race with aims of personal records and personal glory, while others will labor just to cross the finish line before the news trucks head home. But regardless of the specific goal set in each mind and heart, finishing is at the forefront of the goal list, with finishing well–a thing quite subjective–a close second.
Spiritually speaking, today also marks out a race we are all running. We were running it yesterday, and will likely be running it tomorrow, for its finish-line is our last breath on this earth. In some ways, this race is a distance race with uncertain boundaries–it ends when we end. But, with that in mind, we should be striving to get as far along the course as we possibly can. If I spend a day dilly-dallying about on the side of the course, and another bent over messing with my shoes or lying down for a nap, well, my finishing distance is substantially shortened and I will not reach the goal set out before me.
God has given me the tools and abilities to run my race daily, but I often neglect these tools and abilities–not to mention His Spirit–and focus instead on just about ANYTHING else.
That or I willingly put on hindrances and allow them to hamper me. I recall being a lad out in the country and preparing for basketball games by wearing ankle weights I had found in our barn. I’d wear these things all day long. With those weights on, I could jump, but not high; I could run, but not fast. My hope was always that I would take the weights off–after a day of laboring with them–and I would add to my vertical and my general quickness. What I found, however, was that I found myself totally fatigued by the second half of my games, thanks to the hindrance I had chosen for myself throughout the day.
We are to throw these things out–these things hindering our spiritual race. This can be all sorts of things for us: our busyness, our drive for money and things, our secret lusts and unwholesome longings. These things have us limping where bounding is an option; they have us crawling instead of loping along; they have us quitting altogether.
Perhaps this is the week that we get back on course? Perhaps this is the one wherein we redouble our efforts at Christ-likeness, tighten our laces, throw off our hindrances, and strive toward an upward finish?
Let us run together, today and each day after, this race marked out for us.