By Rachel Thomas, MBC Loudoun Director of Discipleship for Women and Ministry Teams
When I lived in downtown Chicago, there was a certain buzz around the beginning of October. The Chicago Marathon completely shut down the city for one day. However, the days prior to the Sunday morning race, you could see hundreds of runners doing their final trainings, street sweepers cleaning the route, and orange “CITY OF CHICAGO” barricades placed on corners and intersections redirecting cars and cabs. All the runners in “The Windy City” would be bundled up and layered appropriately to stay warm before crossing the starting line on those crisp, fall mornings. But then you could see them just a few miles later throwing off all the layers that were holding them back from gaining their best time and pace for the 26.2 miles. The looks on their faces as they crossed the finish line were looks of accomplishment and satisfaction, or was it exhaustion? Either way, they set out to run a marathon, and they completed it.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, the writer urges us to throw off sin that hinders or entangles us from running with perseverance. I have never seen this image so clearly portrayed as I had with the marathon. A few hours after starting, these runners went from being bundled up to their tanks and shorts. They persevered, endured, and threw off hindrances to help them run the race.
What are some sins in your life that are holding you back? What burdens are you running with that weigh you down?Cast them off. Lay them at the cross. Know that a God who loves you and wants you to run with endurance towards Him forgives them!
Not only are we to throw off all these sins, but we have the promise of a “race marked out for us.” In Chicago, city blocks were closed to traffic. The runners were aware of the route. There was no guide needed to direct the runners saying “turn left here!” or “keep going, then take a right at the next fountain.” You didn’t even have to keep pace with the motorcycle or Kenyans to follow their lead. They knew the ultimate finish line was near the lake, after running through Lincoln Park and Chinatown. We know our ultimate goal in the faith race is Christ-likeness in Heaven with God forever. We have a race marked out for us. He is the Author of our faith! He already has it written out! We don’t have to know every single turn and stretch, but just run the race.
A true disciple is one who perseveres in the Christian faith. We run along side brothers and sisters who are all striving for the same goal. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and know that you have fellow runners in front of, beside and behind you to keep you persevering and running the race with all that you have!