Are you tired yet? Ready to give up?
Do you feel weak?
In chaotic and trying times it takes more effort to do even the most common of tasks in our lives. When we are given a race that keeps going on and on we start to lose heart, we allow our form to slack, our pace slows and soon it feels like every step is work.
In Hebrews 12:1-2 we are exhorted to…
…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…
If you are getting tired and growing weak in your race you may consider some self-examination. What are you carrying? Have you begun your run without first throwing off the weight that can slow you down?
Some athletes train for a race or hike by wearing a weight vest, it adds 10-20 pounds so that you can strengthen your legs for the coming contest. But guess what, no one wears the weight vest when they actually run the race! I’ve yet to see an Olympic athlete run a marathon with a weight vest. Think of the pride required to do such a thing!
Yet we often carry unneeded spiritual, mental, and emotional weight as we strive to run after Jesus. It is pride that says, “this is the load Jesus has given me, I will show Him how far I can carry it!”
God tells us to cast our cares on Him! (1 Peter 5:7) Lay aside every weight! And run to Jesus, looking to Him!
Dave’s study through Mark was all about helping us look to Jesus in times of stress and worry. Here in Hebrews the author does the same thing, we are told to look to Jesus! But in verses 3-6 we are looking at a very specific thing. We are to see how Jesus endured the race set before Him.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Our race is a struggle, but not just a struggle against the run itself, but also against the runner, we tend to make it more difficult than it needs to be, and so God steps in like a loving father to re-direct our steps. (Heb. 12:7-10) We call this discipline. Here in Hebrews we are reminded that this discipline should be taken as an encouraging thing, for it speaks to the love of a Father for His children.
If we were not children of God, He would not intervene, He would not take the time to help us learn to run without the weight, help us learn to run with His strength, reminding us to cast our cares on Him.
Thus in Hebrews 12:12-13 we read this…
…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…
When I find myself tired and weak in my run, I risk further injury that could set me back requiring greater intervention and healing. Whether it is from the race itself, or God’s discipline meant to get me to stop and think about how I am running the race, I will at times experience “drooping hands and weak knees.”
The question is, how will I gain strength to continue the race? Will I plod on, going from lame to “put out of joint?”
When we are told to “make straight paths for your feet” that is a proverbial phrase pointing out the fact that maybe the source or your pain is self-inflicted, maybe I’ve been making it more difficult that it needs to be.
Sometimes when I run a muscle gets sore or spasms. If I ignore it, soon I will experience a true injury as I try to compensate by running lop-sided. Wisdom says stop and try some cross training, jump on a bike, do some squats. Strengthen the muscles around the weakness. Take time to self-evaluate, develop some self-awareness.
Our loving Father wants to see us run with Joy! Not with drooping hands.
Are you tired yet? Do you feel like giving up?
Then stop, and ask God what needs to be strengthened? Do I need to Cross Train by casting my cares onto the Cross of Christ? Am I trying to run the race with unneeded weight?