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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV)
I continue to be affected by the incredibly obvious truth in this passage.
There’s certainly quite a lot of truth in the passage, but what most continues to convict and excite me is the simplest line — “let us throw off everything that hinders.”
Interesting, is it not, that sin is addressed separately? That there are things that hinder us, which we must lay aside, that aren’t even sin? Though, depending on how we treat the things that hinder us, they can quickly become sin through idolatry.
It’s a simple question of priority.
If my priority, if my goal, is to not just finish the race, but to win the race, why would I hesitate to make whatever adjustments necessary to do so?
Some things must be sacrificed for the greater goal of victory.
Entertainment. Could it be that I’ve begun to be too concerned with being entertained over being challenged?
Self-Defense. Am I trying to prove something? Or perhaps, am I trying to hold on to, through self-defense, what God is trying to deliver me from? How much time is wasted by arguing!
Peers. “Some friendships you cannot keep and be a Christian.” -Tozer. Am I holding on to relationships that slow me down? Distracting, weighing, overwhelming, hindering, tempting me into the world… It can happen so quickly.
Social Habits. It is entirely impossible to pursue Christ and fit in with the world at the same time. Which do my social habits match up to? Perhaps I’m being held back by how I spend my time when it’s up to me.
Reading Habits. So many people are so affected by something as widely valued and respected as literature. But not all books are good for me. Could it be that I’ve made companions of books that cause discontentment, distract me from spiritual things, or reinforce the world around me? May I make only the word of God my constant companion.
Listening Habits. As with books, music is exceedingly powerful. Is what I’m listening to spurring me on or causing me to look around and focus on myself instead of my goal?
Personal Habits. Use of money. Eating habits. How I dress. The truth of the matter is that I cannot expect to be disciplined in running my race for Jesus if I am undisciplined in life.
Unblessed Plans. I must not get too concerned with my dreams and I must not obsess over money or success — it is not abiut my plan. I entered a race that is designed by God and I must run his course, not my own. When I do, I always find such joy and peace. When I dont, I find discouragement, anxiety, and i quickly find myself stuck.
In the grand scheme of things, is there really anything worth holding on to? I think not.
How wonderful to be able to have the freedom to run to Jesus completely unhindered!
The consequence of all these things would be to block the work of God in your heart and in your home and in your church. You cannot afford to do it. Time is too short. Judgment is too certain. Eternity is too long. God is too wonderful, and Christ is too beatiful, and Heaven is too glorious for us to allow anything in our lives to hold us back from winning the race of life. -Tozer
What’s your goal?
In a word: passionate. About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends, and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas.