If you are familiar with Hebrews, Chapter 11, you know why this is called "the faith chapter" in your Bible. After some teaching about what faith is, and how it works in a Christian's life, there follows a list of those Biblical characters who lived lives of faith. Read the chapter and see how many names you can remember, and all of them were humans like you and me, yet they overcame some difficulty or problem and remained faithful to God. If we are believers in Bible truth, it's no wonder Hebrews 12 begins with the encouragement for us to get rid of all hindrances and be ready to "run the race" set before us.
I have written on this section of scripture in previous blogs, and used a phrase describing the opening of Chapter 12 being the Bible's "pep rally." The stage has been set with the faith chapter, and the roll call of the faithful, and now the writer is telling us to get ready for the race; the actual activity of being faithful followers of Jesus.
But, wait.....Let's look a little more closely at the opening to Chapter 12:
"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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." Hebrews 12:1-2a
We might be so pumped up we overlook something here. Perhaps we are thinking of all those examples of faithful from Chapter 11, we jump the gun when we come to Chapter 12, failing to see the directives of the Hebrew writer. He writes using phrases like, " let us throw off everything that hinders" and " the sin that so easily entangles." Are we reading that right when the pep rally to spur us into starting our race actually begins with directives for us to do something else.
These verses are telling us before we can start our race we must get rid of everything that hinders or keeps us from successfully running our race. This is the call for us to deal with sin in our lives because they will hinder us in the race.
It is only when we "throw off" the hindrances and sin in our own lives that we can run the race with perseverance. Not only that, our eyes will need to be fixed on Jesus because he is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Our race, yours and mine, are not a race of competition. We are running our own individual race these verses tell us, are marked out for us.
Be very aware of "everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles." Remember, Satan is your adversary. He is a liar. He will do anything to keep you from running the race. He wants you to violate your faith and devotion to the Lord. The solution is to fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the pioneer and the perfecter of your faith.
All warmed up? Let's run.