LAY ASIDE EVERY WEIGHT
So how do we run our race in such a way that God's plan will be fulfilled in our lives and Heaven will rejoice? Hebrews 12:1 "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."
Think about the way a runner dresses in an actual Olympic race. He doesn't run with an overcoat on, does he? And he doesn't run with all his street clothes on. Why? Because that would slow him down. Also, a runner doesn't wait until he's run half the race before he pulls off his overcoat, saying, "This coat is holding me back." If he did that, there's no way he could win the race!
In the natural, wearing an overcoat would slow a runner down and keep him/her from winning their race. It's the same way in the spiritual realm. Sin will slow us down, it will keep tripping us up, and it can prevent us from running our spiritual race.
You see, sin in our life will not only hinder our fellowship with God, it will dull our spirit and cause us to be less responsive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Therefore, sin left unchecked will cause us to live only in the natural realm, and we'll miss God's best for our life.
It is also easy to become too entangled with legitimate affairs of life, things which may be good in themselves but are not what God has called us to do. There are many things in this life that are not necessarily wrong, but they will slow us down in our particular spiritual race. They will hinder us from growing spiritually and from fulfilling God's purposes in our life.
That's why God tells us in Hebrews 12:1 to strip off those weights and sins in our lives that are tripping us up and slowing us down spiritually. And we should strip them off now so we are not hindered from fulfilling the plan of God for our lives. If we wait to strip off those weights until we have plodded slowly through half our race, we risk the possibility of never finishing our course and not fulfilling the plan of God for our lives.
Notice Hebrews 12:1 says you are the one who must strip off the weights and sins that hinder you and hold you back in your Christian walk. Of course, God will help you. The Holy Spirit, the Helper, dwells within you to give you power and ability to obey God (John 14:26 Amp.). But God is not going to pull off our coat, those weights and sins that slow us down and lay them aside for us! We are going to have do it.
That's why some of us have trouble running our spiritual race; we are not stripping off everything that would slow us down or hold us back. We are not laying aside the sin that wraps itself so tightly around our feet and trips us up.
We sometimes have trouble running our spiritual race is that we are not running the race God told us to run. We are not following His plan or His purpose for our lives. When that happens, our race can become hard and burdensome to run.
But God doesn't want the race He has set before us to be difficult and burdensome. Matthew 11:28-30 "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Often the difficulties we face in running our race are not the result of God's yoke upon us or trying to fulfill His will for our lives. Many times the difficulties we encounter are the result of what we have failed to do by not stripping off everything that would hinder us.
So in the same way we might take our coat off and throw it down, make the decision to strip off every wrong motive, every selfish ambition, carnal inclination, and desire of the flesh that will hinder us in our race.
Lay aside weights and sins like pride, double-mindedness, spiritual slothfulness, and fear. Cast all these weights and sins far from us and refuse to take them up again. We must do this if we want to do our best to run our spiritual race and finish our course with joy. AMEN