“Therefore, 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.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
While we were on our cruise last week, Trish and I took a walk on the jogging track after dinner one night. Just for fun, I turned on the exercise tracker on my watch. Five minutes later, I got the notification that we had walked one mile. Five minutes after that, I got another notification. Two miles completed.
I was elated. I had set a new personal best! Most of the time, it takes me about seventeen minutes to walk a mile. I thought to myself “Wow! The sea air does wonders for a body! Could I start training for the Olympic power walking team?”
Of course I couldn’t. I realized pretty quickly that my app was not recording my speed. It was recording the speed of the ship beneath me. I was walking under the power of a ship so huge I couldn’t even feel it moving as it sped me on to where it was going.
Hebrews 12 tells us that the race has already been set before us. The goal is Christlikeness, and God’s power is moving me inexorably toward that destination.
So what do we do? We keep moving in that direction. Once I realized what was happening with our walk on board the ship, I started paying attention to how much my pace slowed down when we walking toward the stern. When we were going against the awesome power of the engine beneath us, even our forward motion was pulling us backward. That’s the weight and sin that clings so closely, which the writer of Hebrews talks about in verse 1.
This is what Isaiah meant when he said that those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength (see Isaiah 40:31). He is the one doing the work. He has charted the course.
So why is it so important to to wait on the Lord? Well, just try to take a walk on the North Atlantic without a big boat beneath you.
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