In Touch Daily Devotional
by Dr. Charles Stanley
Wednesday September 29, 2004
InTouch Early Light Devotional
Living Life to the Fullest
Footraces were a common attraction 2,000 years ago, just as they are today. For this reason, the writer of Hebrews likened the Christian life to a race. Many people think of it as a battle or struggle, but to the extent we live as the Bible prescribes, we'll see life as a long run into eternity.
To be successful in our race, we must have "cheerleaders" - fellow Christians who are rooting for us when we are doing well and praying for us when we stumble. But our encouragers are also the "great cloud of witnesses" referred to in today's passage. These are believers from Bible times on, men and women who have gone before us, leaving behind a tremendous example to follow. We know from Old Testament stories that these people weren't perfect - they faltered and fell - but God used them anyway. Reading about their races, we can be inspired by the way they achieved a full life.
The writer of Hebrews urges us to "lay aside every encumbrance." Athletes dress down so that nothing can hamper their forward momentum. Christians, like cross-country runners, are interested not in speed but in endurance. If we're going to be sustained throughout the race, then we need to rid ourselves of all hindrances. An encumbrance is subtle and can take many forms. It may be a habit, hobby, or attitude. To push forward in our race, we must honestly examine our life for anything that might be impeding closeness to God. Then we must make a decision to deal with it. God wants us to run our race well.
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