Mark continued his series from Hebrews 12:1-2 this morning, looking at the verse which reminds us to throw off or lay aside every weight that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles or ensnares us so that we can run with perseverance the race God has mapped out for us.

Life is rather like a race route which has been mapped out by God. It’s more of an obstacle course than a straight sprint and we need to prepare for the race diligently, not wearing a parka and snow boots for an Olympic race! Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 9:24 that there is only one winner in a race and tells Timothy that he has finished the race and kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7-8). We have to be prepared to throw off or lay aside everything that would hinder us in this race.

Sometimes, things which are not sinful in themselves can hinder or distract us. These will vary according to each person, but we have to be prepared to be ruthless about the things that weigh us down and lay them aside.

Sin so easily trips us up on this race of life. Again, the sins will be different for each individual, but no one is without sin (Rom 3:23) and we need to be vigilant in identifying the hindrances and sins which cause us to stumble. We also have to be carful not to pick these things back up once we have discarded them!

In order to be aware of the distractions and sin in our own lives, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and look back at ourselves, for He will surely identify the stumbling-blocks for us and will also give us the means to overcome these. There is, however, an onus on us to be involved: we are the ones urged to do the discarding!