Four people were on a plane when it suddenly lost power and started falling toward the ground. The pilot got on the radio to announce an even bigger problem: “There are four of us, but only three parachutes. It’s my plane and my parachutes, so I’m going to take one of them.”
The three who were left—a professor, an elderly pastor, and a young traveler—were faced with a dilemma. The brilliant professor jumped to his feet and said, “I am one of the greatest minds in the country. I must survive. I’m taking one of the parachutes.” The others agreed and he launched himself out.
The pastor turned to the young traveler and said, “I’ve lived a long life and I don’t fear death. You take the last parachute.” But the young traveler stopped him mid-sentence by saying, “No, it’s fine. That brilliant professor just jumped out with my backpack strapped on!”
Wisdom means seeing more than just what is right in front of you. If we want to live as wise men and women, we must see things from God’s viewpoint. As you grow in your knowledge and understanding of the principles and precepts of God’s Word and apply to them to real-life situations, you will become more skillful and successful in your responsibilities.
One of the ways we can see ourselves from God’s viewpoint is outlined in Hebrews 12:1-3. Notice that, according to the author, we are runners in God’s race.
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As we consider this passage in this blog series, we will notice that there are three aspects that we need to focus on if we want to run our race wisely:
- Preparation for the Race
- Perseverance In the Race
- Priority During the Race
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We Must Prepare for the Race
Running requires all kinds of training, discipline, and a rigorous protocol of diet and sleep. In the same way, our faith journey requires a single-minded, wholehearted devotion and determination if we are to run the race with endurance.
Verse One shows us two things we need to watch out for:
The writer of Hebrews tells us that if we want to endure and finish the race God has set before us, we must set aside every hindrance or “weight” that could drag us down.
Throughout Hebrews, the author repeatedly tells us that “Christ is better.” So as he writes to the Hebrews, one of the things Christ is better than is the Old Covenant. He admonishes them to lay aside this weight and embrace the new and living way that Jesus provides. His new covenant—accomplished through His blood—is superior to the old one!
We can do this two ways today:
- Lay aside the law and embrace grace
- Lay aside anything that hinders our faith journey
There are things in our lives that hinder or distract us from running with a single-minded devotion to Christ. They may not be bad in and of themselves, but they keep us from pursuing Christ with purpose and power. In your own life, what is something that keeps you from running full-force toward Jesus?
But weights aren’t the only thing we need to watch out for. We also need to scan for things that might trip us up.
Things That Ensnare Us
For the nation of Israel, “the sin that so easily ensnares” was unbelief. Unbelief may not be the besetting sin in your life like it was for the nation of Israel, but the truth is that we all have these. Everyone has something that they struggle with the most.
David, the “man after God’s own heart,” constantly sinned against God—and it cost him dearly. Sin does the same for us.
- Sin dims the eye and clouds your spiritual vision
- Sin deafens your hearing so that you cannot discern God’s voice
- Sin dulls your taste so that you no longer hunger and thirst after God.
What sin is constantly pulling you back toward it that you need to lay at the foot of the cross?
The author of Hebrews implores us to identify both the weights that tie us down and the pitfalls that could trip us up and prepare for them beforehand so that as we run, we can do so with excellence. Draw near to God so that He can train you to run the race you’re already running well.
Originally posted on Replicate’s blog here. Used by permission.