Sometimes you have get rid of extra baggage (emotional, relational.. and good old fashion “stuff”). Sometimes “less is more” in this spiritual journey with Jesus. As we simplify we are able to gain a uncanny focus on what is important and take in views from heights not normally seen. That seems to be the message in Hebrews 12 – “Strip down, Shoot straight, Stand tall.” And all of it is in the context of “Let us” – specific responses to Jesus that we do together as a community.
Jules Verne wrote a novel “The Mysterious Island” which tells of a Civil War prison break via a hot balloon (think: cool gadgets of 007 or Batman). The 5 inmates are carried far out over the ocean and the balloon is slowly descending into the deep. The save themselves they begin to strip off everything that is not essential until its simply them hanging from the ropes of the balloon… (you will have to pick up the book to finish the story). But the point is – when survival and success are on the line you really begin to evaluate what is important. In our faith journey we also have to strip ourselves of “stuff.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 encourages us to get rid of anything that slows us down from running to Jesus (responsibilities, relationships, ministries, ideas, enter your “pet” here _________.)
It also speaks about not getting tangled up in sin… an easy thing to do. But as we begin to remove or untangle ourselves from these distractions we begin to gain focus, things… actually HE, Jesus, begins to become clearer and clearer. And its at that point that we are pressed to “fix our eyes on JESUS” (v3).
All of this is easier said then done – right? I think that is why the author of Hebrews slipped in the part “run with perseverance the race marked out for you.” Perseverance is not in some of our vocabularies. We like instant photography, soup, coffee, gratification, and results. We are part of the “Why wait when I can charge it now?” culture. But we could use a bit more perseverance in our lives and the qualities of patience, endurance, and steadfastness that come with it. If you make an honest try at this whole Jesus Journey you will realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. You might even get weary and start to loose heart. So, how can we persevere? The Scriptures tell us to “consider Jesus” and what he endured and that in that meditation of His life we will find strength to press on.
Also don’t forget that you are not alone in this race. The Father is running alongside you, wanting to support you and help you finish even when you would rather give up and fail.
Below is a video clip of Derek Redmond (Barcelona 1992) whose amazing run demonstrates the spirit of persevering and the Fathers love for us. Enjoy, be inspired, run the race to win!