“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
Originally I was only going to look at verse 2 for today. But in my mind it is not a stand alone verse. It continues a sentence. When that happens I like to go back and see what the previous verse says. I always loved these verses and as I study and get into them, I love them even more. First note, what is the therefore there for? Well the previous chapter is the faith chapter, where the author of Hebrews lays out of all of the champions of the faith! So we know that he is referring to those champions when he says “therefore”! We are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. These stories of these champions of faith are not just there to entertain us. They are not just stories. They are testimonies of real people who served a Holy God and held onto their faith and how they were blessed by that. I love faith stories. I love the faith stories that I read in the Bible and I love faith stories in the present day. They encourage me to keep my own faith.
Keeping that faith, we are to lay aside every weight, and sin. What is weighing you down? Is it sin? Is it worry (which could be called sin?), is your worry over financial strains, medical diagnoses, the world we live in today, Covid? Is it worry over a family member or family circumstance? Because we hear and know these faith stories we should be able to lay aside our weight of worry and sin. I know it is easier said than done, oh how I know. But that is what this verse encourages us to do.
And because of these stories of faith, we are to run the race that is set before us. We each have a race. Our races look different but mind you each one is hard. If you aren’t in a hard place right now, praise Jesus for it and keep on keeping on because your life can encourage someone who does happen to be in a hard race. But how do we stay on course, how do we continue to run?
We look to Jesus! He is the founder and perfecter of our faith. We can have faith because of Him. We are saved through our faith in Him and our faith is perfected in Him. I know that I would be a wretched woman if not for Him and what He has done for me. I know that there are days I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning if not for Him. But my faith in Him, my faith that He has got me keeps me running this race. Jesus endured the cross, He kept His eyes on the joy that would come from the cross. And because he endured it, He is now seated at the right hand of God and we can run our race knowing that He has finished the ultimate fight for us. My faith is found only in Jesus and my faith is perfect because of Jesus!