“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.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
During the month of October, I’d like to share with you a devotional thought each week from a different section of these verses.
A lot of preparation goes into running a race. Runners practice regularly, watch their diet, and make sure that they have the proper equipment for the race. You would not want to race with any extra weight or impediment to the race.
The author of Hebrews calls us to do two things in preparation for the race. First, we lay aside every weight. Second, we lay aside sin. The two are similar, but not exactly the same.
First, there are many things that weigh us down in life, and hold us back with regard to our faith. You could be weighed down by worry. You could be weighed down by grief. You could be weighed down by pain. You could be weighed down by a need for perfection.
Imagine trying to run a race carrying a heavy weight on your back. You’re not going to get very far very fast. Jesus comes to take our burdens off your back. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus takes all these things from you and carries them Himself.
Second, there are things that don’t just weigh you down, but that also hold you back, and these are your sins. The text in Hebrews can also be translated, “let us also lay aside every sin which entangles us.”
Imagine trying to run with your shoelaces tied together. That’s what its like if we run the race of faith while holding on to our sin. That sin needs to be laid aside, given to Jesus in confession, so that He will forgive you.
As you confess your sins and receive forgiveness, Jesus sets you free to run the race unburdened and untangled. Confession and forgiveness is how Jesus prepares you to run.
Thank You, Jesus for dying for all my sins. Give me faith to cast all my burdens on You, confess my sins to You, and receive your gift of freedom; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.