How to Run with Endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2)
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
Today's Bible Verse: 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 (ESV)
I joined Camp Gladiator in February 2020, which consists of group outdoor workouts. Each week of the four-week camp cycle features a different theme, such a HIIT, Strength & Agility, Endurance, etc. The first time that strength week rolled around, I brought my five lb. dumbbells and thought “hey, this is pretty easy.” Well, it was too easy—my trainer immediately told me I needed to upgrade to ten lb. dumbbells. Suddenly, it wasn’t nearly as effortless. Every move I had mastered was now—quite literally—weighed down. The extra weight affected my breathing, my speed, my agility…the works. Now I’m trying to incorporate 15 lbs. into some of the exercises, and I’m really noticing that difference, too.
I can’t help but think of this analogy when reading these verses in Hebrews 12. The author tells us as believers to “lay aside every weight” so that we can “run with endurance.” Running with a 20 lb. sandbag on your shoulder is great for physical training—but what about when it comes to running our spiritual race with the weight of sin draped across our back? Not nearly as productive or helpful!
Your weight today might not be sand, but rather a mixture of regrets, anxiety, and worry. Or maybe you’re staggering under the burden of unforgiveness, grudges, and fear. Or perhaps you’re lugging around lust, greed, and pride. Regardless of the specifics, we all carry the weight of our sin when we forget to confess and take it to the Lord. As Christians, we know (via 1 John 1:9) that He is faithful and just to forgive us from our sins and cleanse us. So why do we choose to stumble around, sweating and struggling, instead of passing it over to Him? Romans 8:1 (ESV) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
So repent! Put those weights down! Run free and far and fast. Run with endurance, like the “cloud of witnesses” did that have gone before us. We can do that because Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father— the “seated” part signifying that it’s done. Over. Finished. (John 19:30) His completed work on the cross destroyed these weights we still try to carry.
Just like in physical training, spiritual training takes practice if you want to achieve new goals. If your goal is to run with endurance spiritually, then you must do the daily work to build those new habits and persevere. Remember, no one runs a 5K the first time when all they’ve done previously is lay on a couch (there’s an entire exercise program dedicated to bridging that gap!) To build your endurance spiritually, read your Bible daily. Pray. Surround yourself with your current “cloud of witnesses” in your church and encourage each other in the Lord. Get up when you fall. Keep going. You’re not alone—and you’re getting stronger.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her upcoming novel with Revell, Tacos for Two, in October. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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