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Lenten Devotional 3/24

March 24, 2015                        By: Robert Newberry
“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”
Hebrews 12: 1
This pair of verses has been very impactful to me as I walk through life. The writer of Hebrews starts off the chapter with the word “therefore.” This is implicating that there is a lot of justification in the text immediately previous to this that gives weight to the call to action now laid before us. This call is to run the race of this life with endurance. This call is to pursue Christ with all we have and to tear everything off that is hindering us from doing that. I am certainly not a runner but I do know that in any race the equipment that you have is crucial to the success you wish to attain. Picture a champion marathon runner who is preparing for an Olympic race. You see him stretching, he is limbering up and doing all of the things necessary to run a good race but right at the starting line, before the call, he straps on a 40 pound weighted vest and takes off running.  Everyone would look at him as a ridiculous fool who wasted the last 4 years of effort in planning for this race because there is no way he will do his best and probably won’t even finish with the weight that he is carrying. Everyone immediately recognizes that he is ill-equipped to run the race set before him.
Now picture the same man who is preparing to run the race of his life. He stretches and does all of the necessary calisthenics to make sure that his body is prepped and ready to go. He gets to the starting line but this time instead of putting on a huge noticeable vest he just wears 2, 1 pound weights in his shoes. 2 pounds is a miniscule weight for a full grown man to carry but weigh the consequences of running 26 miles with that added weight. No matter how much the runner has trained and how strong he has made his body that weight will affect how he runs. Over the course of a long race he will feel the weight that he is carrying with him and it will begin to wear him down. It will begin to affect how he runs and it will slow him down. It will hinder him from running a good race.
This is why the writer of Hebrews has taken the time to lay out the reasoning for us to lay aside every weight and cast off all sin. It hinders our walk with Christ! We who love so dearly the relationship we have with our Father are willingly carrying weights that will keep us from staying close to him. The sin that we make excuses for and try to hold onto will physically and tangibly affect our lives as we strive to run the race that God has set before us. It will crater your witness and ministry from the inside out as it wears away and slowly takes your feet off of the solid rock of foundation in Christ and moves them onto the nothingness of your own understanding and works. Our race that we run bears much higher stakes than a medal around your neck and a stance atop the podium. There is eternal glory involved in the race we run, so let us run it with the mindset to cast off all weights and sin so that we may run and not give up. Let us press on with endurance running the race that is set before us for there are much greater things at stake than we can comprehend.
Father let us see the path that you have set before us, give us the strength and patience to run well for the time you have given us. Let us not be hindered by any sin or distractions to our cause and let us throw them off with all haste. For you are the ultimate prize and may we lay everything else aside to gain more of you. In the name of your son Jesus Christ, we pray, Amen.


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