“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.
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted…
“‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives…’
“For [earthly fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive… for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:1-3,6,10-14
Life is a long race, God our trainer, and holiness (and heaven) our goal. Without good physical, mental, and spiritual posture, we are hindered from running it well. Between the cloud of witnesses (who have completed the race) to encourage us at the start, and the finish line that yields the fruit and crown of righteousness, our heavenly coach tends to us personally for our good. His instruction, His example, and His tools are useful and effective in accomplishing His purposes.
The first thing He says is, ‘let go.’ Let loose of everything that weighs us down, excesses and charms that slow us by distraction, confusion, or insecurity. Next, shake off the sin habits, with their attending guilt, shame, regret, and anger, that catch us in their sticky web. Now set our eyes on Jesus, our perfect role model who set His eyes (with joy) on the finish line of our salvation. Once unencumbered, and adjusted to winning posture, strive and endure. Remember Him who endured to the end, without indulging temptation to detour or quit, especially when feeling faint.
Along life’s route, our Trainer disciplines us, checking our wayward affections and side-trails to worldly enticements. He proves sufficient in our weakness, graciously heals and redeems our injuries through consequence, and steers us to spiritual health. When we bow in humility, He lifts our faces aright. (2 Corinthians 12:9; 1 Peter 5:6)
What possessions, expectations, and practices am I unwilling to release in order to run with freedom? Am I clinging to old props of empty security? Unrealistic fantasies? Stubborn pride that I can do this myself, my way, in my strength? Do I value the temporal glamor of worldly success more than the eternal glory of a heavenly crown? (2 Corinthians 4:17-18; 2 Timothy 4:7-8)
Alongside whom do I train? What instigation, or weariness, pushes me to flag in holy resolve? What in my disposition or stance needs straightening and setting aright? (Proverbs 27:17; Hebrews 10:23-25)
Author and Perfecter of faith, keep me keeping on and on Your path, in right posture with You as my Guide and glorious Goal.