September 16, 2005
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When I go to the Dallas Maverick’s games, I love it when the players are introduced. They pump up the music loud, the lights go out, and then one-by-one the lineup is called out and the crowd stands and cheers. And during the game, whether the team is playing well or struggling to make a comeback, the crowd gets into it.
It is important for the fans to get behind the players in the team. Just the same in Hebrews, Paul said we have a cloud of witnesses to encourage, motivate, and cheer us on when we get down or struggle in this game called life. Not only do we have God on our side, but the stories of those spiritual influences that lived before still encourage and give hope.
The Christian life is much like a race or competition. And participating athletes or team players have to be lean and fit. You can’t be a lukewarm Christian and be on the winning team. Jesus says you are to be either hot or cold (see Revelation 3:15-16). In this passage, Paul tells us, “Get rid of the excess and anything in your life that slows you down!”
It may not happen overnight for you, but may be through a series of choices and commitments. But any good athlete knows that if you’re going to succeed, you have to pay the price and sacrifice every day—both in season and off-season. And the best part of the Christian life is that you have others rooting you on—brothers and sisters in Christ, those in heaven, and most importantly a Holy God. Ask the Lord to help you lay aside your weight and sin and build you up, so that you can run with endurance this path of life.
YOU’RE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE TEAM. EMBRACE OTHER’S CHEERS, GET RID OF THE EXCESS, AND CONCENTRATE ON WINNING THE RACE FOR CHRIST!