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, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Many different figures of speech are used in the New Testament to describe aspects of the Christian life. 1 Corinthians 9:26, Galatians 5, and Philippians 2 all present the Christian life as a run. The text of Hebrews 12 also addresses the life of a follower of Christ with the analogy of running. If you look at verses 1-2 of chapter 12, you will see that the verb or the command from the author is to “run with endurance the race set before you.” So in this text, I urge you to consider three truths that encourage us as believers to run as fast as we can!
As we run this race, the first thing we can see from this text is that we can run with encouragement from those who have run before us. The author says that since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us run…. This is clearly a reference to the previous chapter, chapter 11, which recounts for us the faithful saints of old who faithfully ran and completed their race. What an encouragement for us to have living, breathing examples of people who were found faithful!
Secondly, as we run this race, we must get rid of what slows us down. If you are going to run you have to be ready, you have to be in shape, and if you want to make it to the finish line, then you must get rid of everything that is weighing you down. People that run marathons and long distances are not out there dressed the same way as if they were going to be snow skiing. The author of this text exhorts us to “lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely.” May our lives be characterized by confession of sin and a commitment to repent and turn from the sin that clings so closely.
Finally, we see that to run this race we can look to Jesus as our ultimate example. The author says that Jesus is the one we look to because “for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” What a great Savior we have. One who has lived as we live and suffered as we suffer. Jesus defeated death and the grave so that we, too, could endure the trials of this life!
I hope you take time this week to remember the saints who have gone before you as a way to encourage you in whatever life is throwing at you this week. I pray that you seek to confess and repent of any sin that is weighing you down, and always look to Christ as your ultimate example for how to run this race as fast as you can!