Race Running 101

Description

Is there anything weighing you down as you run the spiritual race Jesus has set before you?

Picture this:

You are about to start a race. You're standing at the starting line, adrenaline pumping, and heart racing with anticipation. You glance sideways at the man holding the gun. It sounds, and you're off! Starting at a quick jog, you're feeling great. Then your friend comes up and asks you to carry her backpack for her. You pick it up and keep running. Then a large, muscled man comes up and hands you a barbell. Ow! This thing weighs a ton! You tell yourself to ignore it. Keep running. Wait a minute. What's in this backpack anyway? It feels like it's full of bricks! Finally, a sailor comes and slings an anchor over your shoulder. Ouch! You're slowed to a walk, the pain almost too much to bear. You'll never finish the race now!

This race is actually displayed in Hebrews 12:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (vv. 1–2).

So the "race" is actually your spiritual life. You want to run fast and finish strong, right? But you've slowed to a walk because of your weights. The verse tells us that we should strip off those weights that slow us down or trip us up. Those could be TV, a bad friend, or anything that keeps you from growing closer to God.

It's easy to make excuses about our weights. Maybe you tell yourself "this show isn't really that bad. I mean, I don't swear, so it doesn't affect my life." Or that that friend who isn't a Christian "is only my friend so I can witness to her. We go to all those parties so I can get closer to her. Then I can tell her about Jesus!"

I'm not saying that watching TV is bad or that having a non-Christian friend is bad. I'm definitely not saying that witnessing to people is bad! Just think a minute. When do those things become weights? Are they slowing down your walk with Jesus?

So what are your weights? Ask Jesus, the "perfect champion who initiates and perfects our faith" to help you strip them off.

Contributed by "Julia," an eighth grader

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