What sin is your greatest challenge? What is that one thing that you know is wrong but have the hardest time not doing? Let’s face it we are all very different. Some things that might bother me a whole lot may seem like nothing to you and some things that seem like they weigh you down all the time, may seem like nothing to be bothered by, in my life. In Hebrews 12:-1-2 is one of the greatest passages in Scripture with regard to our life for God. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off every thing 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.”
The scene being pictured here can only be recognized by reading the chapter before it where he talked about great people of faith that had lived in the past and were heroes of faith in the Lord. He pictures these, who endured so much for God in order to be able to live in glory with God, as seated in the arena yelling for us as we live the Christian life and are running the race that is set before us. God doesn’t ask the same thing from every person so the race marked out for each may be different. But in spite of the race God calls us to run there are some things that are always true.
We must lay aside every thing that hinders us from running the race. Imagine yourself as a young person being challenged to race someone else your same age. Suppose you were wearing boots and a heavy coat when you were challenged and the other person was wearing tennis shoes and a light outfit. Would you try to race them in the heavy coat and boots or would you say, let me change clothes and get on something more appropriate and then I am ready to race you? In the life for the Lord there are many things that aren’t wrong in and of themselves but that hinder us from living the life God calls us to live. It could be habits, friendships, recreation you enjoy or even a job. The thing is, there are things in all our lives that are hindrances to us really living the life of faith and commitment to God that I know I should be living. God calls on us to lay those aside so we can run the race set before us.
But notice there is more to the point that he made. He said we needed to throw off the sin that so easily entangles us. Think for a moment of people you know and love and think of the sin that seems to always pull them down when they are trying to do what they know God wants them to do. It is so often easier to see that sin in the life of people we know and love than to see it in our own life. We can see it when a friend always has an excuse for not doing things that are good, even though they may have excitedly planned to do so the day before. We may see their pull toward some addiction that is hard to break. We may see that they constantly put themselves down and can’t even see all the ways God blesses them and open doors he gives them. It may be a sin like gossip that never quite seems wrong when I’m doing it about someone else, but is suddenly an awful sin when the gossip is about me and I find one I trusted told it.
It is extremely important that I know my sin that so easily entangles me so I can lay it aside and not allow it to take over my life. It could even be some pain that I deal with all the time but can work through and actually do most of the things I really want to do. But if something comes up I don’t really want to do, then my pain is suddenly too bad to go.
Listen, stop today looking for the other person’s sin that entangles them unless they asked you to help them. But go on a mad search in your life to see what it is that so easily pulls you into wrong words, wrong actions, wrong thoughts and the failure to do what is right. When I see what it is and can put it off, then I can run with perseverance the race God has set before me with my eyes set on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of faith.