Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1 (New Living Translation)
Any runner will tell you the importance of dropping any unnecessary weight than can slow them down, or watching out for places on their route that can trip them up. As any runner knows, you don’t wear heavy clothes, carry heavy loads (or hand weights), or eat heavy prior to running. Not only can these weigh you down, they can also trip you up as well. This not only applies to runners or joggers, even walkers of every kind can learn from this as well.
The above image is that of Arnulfo Quimare, a member of the Mexican Tarahumara tribe known for their running speed and endurance. You can see that Arnulfo’s not weighed down at all; only his necessary clothes and sandals. As chronicled in Born To Run, the Tarahumara runners can really “go the distance”.
As I read the above scripture passage, I began to wonder how many of us in this road trip called the Christian journey are weighed down? What unnecessary “weights” are we carrying with us that we need to strip?
- Relationship weights where there are those people in our lives that keep us down. That friend/associate/spouse/relative that always seem to hinder our progress. Even those who might have our “best interest” at heart, may unknowingly be impeding our progress. How about that relationship you need not have, like an affair, that can blow up in your face anytime?
- Lifestyle weights where we need to watch what we’re doing and where we’re doing. Is our lifestyle keeping us from moving forward? What behaviors or habits we do all the time which hinders us-those we think, “I can stop anytime I want to”? What places we need to start avoiding that bring out the worst in us?
- Emotional and spiritual weights such as fear, hatred, resentment, suspicion, apathy and unrighteous anger that keep you from living your calling. What about what you learn at church? What garbage being pawned off as “truth” you’ve picked up that’s weighing you down?
- Any other weight that keeps you can think of?
And as the Hebrews passage says, those above weights can also trip you up as well! How many of us carried some unneeded weight to only end up flat on our faces? Many of us don’t realize we tote these weight around us. In fact, they might be lightweight at first where we can still move about. However as these weights start to get bigger and multiply, we don’t notice their effect on our lives until it’s sometimes too late. Like the runner we start to slow down, tire out, and…WHOOPS! Fall flat on our faces (OUCH!).
It’s time for us to strip off these weights. We need to do our best to be in communion with the Divine so that we will be aware of these saboteurs through prayer, meditation, and soul-searching. As I alluded above, these weights have been such a part of us we’ve never found them out for what they were. However, with God’s help, we’ll develop the discipline and strength to see the weight and strip it off. It’ll be work-trust me on this one-however I know it will give us the power to lighten our loads, and move with the ability of an Arnulfo Quimare.
Then we’ll be able to run the race God set out for us with endurance!