Run ON: Unhindered

I love how Eugene Peterson translates Hebrews 12:1-2: Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

It is so rich I don’t want us to miss it all so I’m going to break it down line by line:

 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?

It is evident here that those before us knew that their lives weren’t merely bound to the time in which they lived them. It wasn’t just to impact those around them but the generations to come.  They lived their lives in such a way that those who would follow after could go even farther and fasters than they.   They had an impact for years, decades, and centuries to come.  As we look back on them their lives were meant to be an example to encourage us onward.  To press toward the mark of Jesus!  Not to discourage us of where we are not yet, but to show us if they could do it we definitely can do it and even BIGGER!

It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit!

In light of this, there is an urgency we must have in this life, to fulfill all we are called to fulfill.  The clock is ticking.  We only have so much time.  I don’t know about you but that actually makes my spirit a bit on edge, but in a good way.  I’ve never been a fan of feeling put on the spot or having to take a test on a time limit. But I love the feeling of being on the blocks right before the buzzer goes off.  I have anticipation and adrenaline coursing through my body, eager with anticipation for how this race will go.  As I pray about and think about this verse I realize we have to shift our perspective of this life as one of stress to anticipation. Each of us have been chosen for such a time as this, and our days have been numbered (we only get so much time live on this side of heaven).  We each have been given and equipped with very specific and unique gifts, talents and callings to perform.  I don’t know about you but when I look at it like that the competitive side of me actually finds that exciting. I want to face each day as a race and my alarm every morning as the buzzer.  It is time to get up and out there and give my very best.   After all isn’t competition always time bound?  Whether it is how fast you can perform a specific feat, or what team in a specific time frame can earn the most points.  We are built for time frames and we are built for battle.  Embrace it don’t resist it.

It is important to note though that God’s concept of time and ours are very different.  While we think what makes us successful is how fast we accomplish things or how many we accomplish God’s gauge of success for us is different.  It is outside of time and more concerned about the health of our heart to receive His love and learn to pour it out on His people.

No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.

It gets difficult in any race or athletic event to carry unnecessary weight or have something that shouldn’t be present there to sap your energy.  You need every bit of your strength for the task at hand.  What weighs you down or drains you must be quickly addressed and removed if possible.  In our lives though we actually grow acclimated to these things.  Instead of having a healthy disgust for them we begin to grow complacent or dare I say even comfortable with them.

Pursuing Jesus does often mean getting very uncomfortable, but it is for our better health overall.  Jesus is our example as He is the one that modeled how to run this race of life weight free and lightly (free from the draining of sin, and light never putting on “spiritual fat” or what I believe to be the distractions of the world and instant gratification).   Jesus ran unhindered.  Think about that for a moment.  What in your life right now is hindering your capacity to grow and to run full on toward your purpose?  I believe God is calling you and I to exchange the flabby and draining patterns of our old self for unhindered way that He set before us.  It will be uncomfortable only because it is so much lighter than the way we have known.  How much farther could you go if you ran free, light and unhindered?

… To be Continued