Hebrews 12:1-3 – “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, 2 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. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” NKJV
I want to share some thoughts from the first three verses in Hebrews 12 that I believe are not only beneficial but vital to our Spiritual Walk and Warfare. Consider them with me, please…
- The Great Cloud of Witnesses…
That to which Paul refers would have been understood by his hearers as in comparison to the Olympic games of his day. Paul was obviously referring to those in the previous Chapter who had gone one before them and now occupants of the celestial city in the presence of God.
Upon receiving my draft notice and then enlisting to allow me to choose the Branch of Service in which I would serve elicited many discussions with veterans about BOOT CAMP. One of my cousins told me something that helped me through that time and has helped me in many situations in life. He said, “You can make it. Think of it like this – There have been hundreds of thousands who have made it before you and if they made it you can too.” I never forgot that. I remembered it in “Boot Camp” in my other training for combat and in Vietnam. The thought of that massive crowd of people who had preceded me stuck in my mind and kept me motivated.
Once I became a Christian I kept that mentality referring to this passage as a reminder of the hundreds of thousands or millions that have gone on before and “finished the course” and are now in the presence of the Lord. They made it. They are there and so it motivates me to believe and focus on the fact that I can too.
- Paul Reminds His Listeners That…
The presence in their minds of the great cloud of witnesses would enable them to run the race. This is another reference to the Olympic athlete who stripped totally naked in order to compete. The athlete would allow nothing to hinder them or slow them down. Not public exposure, not any inhibitions they might have or concerns about being exposed. In a life that applies in that if we keep things “hidden,” we are allowing encumbrances, weights, and baggage to keep us from being able to run the race and finish the course.
We need to be reminded of those who have successfully completed the course. We need to be reminded that “nothing” is worth not finishing the course successfully. That means that we have to come totally clean in our hearts, our honesty and acknowledge where we fall short and allow that flaw to be exposed to the light so it can be addressed. Failure in that area will cause us to have entanglements that will prevent us from running successfully.
Let’s pause there and pick this up in the next post. May you walk in the fullness of God’s rich and bountiful blessings as you journey through this beautiful day in Him.