If you have ever run in a race, whether as a child on the playground, in a high school gym class, or as an adult, you understand the need to prepare. In Hebrews 12, our faithfulness to God is described as “the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). As Christians, we live in a world and run in our race while surrounded by events, objects, teachings, and attitudes that might slow us down and distract us from our faith in God.
We are told to “lay aside every encumbrance.” To prepare ourselves for this most important event, our spiritual race to the finish, we are to remove everything that might slow us down. We would never race in elementary school while wearing a backpack or with an arm full of heavy books. Spiritually speaking, we should use the same common sense and remove anything that makes faithfulness more difficult.
We are also told to lay aside “the sin that so easily entangles us.” These words describe how dangerous and damaging sin can be. Imagine a scene from a movie where someone’s shoelaces are tied together just before they leave the starting line…we know what happens next. Sin not only slows us down, it can make it impossible for us to finish the race.
Faithfulness does not happen by accident but requires our preparation. Have we prepared ourselves to run the race that is set before us? Have we removed every distraction that might slow us down from finishing? Have we repented of every sin that might cause us to stumble?