Track season is just finishing up. Track was not my favorite sport back in my school days, but in a small school everyone is encouraged to participate. As an eighty-something pound seventh grader I was signed up to throw shot put and discus. The only logic I can see in my coach placing me in those events was that I couldn't jump. That left shot and disc and coaches like to make sure that all the name blanks are filled on event entry sheets. I guess the coach always had the hope that my competition might get a sudden virus or that I might drop the shot-put on their toe rendering them unable to compete.
I also ran the two-mile, the mile, and the half mile. I can still feel the butterflies that took flight in my stomach as I positioned myself on the track. I can still hear the gun being fired signaling time for take off. I. was. not.fast. BUT, I had endurance. I might have been called the Energizer Bunny if he had existed then. I did pretty well considering how much I disliked it. I guess I was running away from running.
I remember in practice, my coach gave me Velcro-bags to strap around my ankles. Maybe it was just on one occasion, but I thought getting to use the weight bags was the coolest. The bags were full of pennies. It provided weight around my ankles. I was to run around the track once with the weight. Then I was to take off the weight and run. I remember running after taking off the weight. It was amazing; almost difficult to keep my feet on the ground. I was so light. It felt like running had been made a thousand times easier.
I can’t imagine why coach let me use the ankle weight bags just that time or two. I’m thankful though, as it provided the perfect example of the effect sin has. It also showed the remedy. The lap I ran with the bags was treaterous. About ten yards into my run, I was hurting and exhausted. The weight not only pulled at my ankles, but my whole body wanted to dissolve into a puddle much like the witch in Oz who was doused with water. Similarly, sin weighs us down. I tend to lose things fairly often, but I keep an excellent record of my sin. My own sin, combined with the sin around me is just too much to bear. I told Hallie I would make her lunch, but I forgot. I was sarcastic with Hayden again. Where was my patience with Rylie? I am so discouraged by injustice in the world; sin. Heavily weighted by sin in my own heart, and sin all around me- I don’t know if I’m being consumed from the inside-out or the outside-in.
Thankfully, Paul has a pertintent word.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…..-Hebrews 12:1,2
Being weighed down in sin is actually a blessing. I never felt so light, so able to run the race set before me until the weight was unbearable and then removed. The weight of sin was bore on calvary. We can add as much weight as we want to our running bags, trying to do life on our own strength. And we can run much more than a lap if we so desire. But it is when we throw off the weight, casting it to the cross, that we are able to really run the race. Running with perserverance means that we have to be persistent, steadfast. We must constantly “cast off”.
Daily life is both practice and the real race. We have cheering fans in the stand, the men and women mentioned in Hebrews and Christian brothers and sisters with us now. They are urging us to run unburdened and unhindered. Weightless, by faith that Jesus has endured it all, let us run. Let us run before those cheering witnesses with our eyes on Jesus, who is both with us and waiting for us at the finish line.