Hebrews 12:1-4 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
I love these verses in Hebrews 12! There is an amazing picture painted for us here, of running a race. Much can be said about this, but I just want to point to a few quick observations.
1) Picture a runner. We are exhorted to lay aside every weight and sin that would try to thwart us from running the race. Imagine a runner with a backpack full of games, a camera hanging around his neck, and reading a novel as he carelessly jogs along. Would you think he was very serious about running the race? This is not the picture we get in Hebrews 12. Christian, beware of getting bogged down with distractions that would cause you to lose your focus on Christ and the race we are to run.
Sin is obviously a hindrance. But there are other things that may not even be sin per say, but would cause us to be less effective in serving Christ. Hobbies, entertainment, frivolous and empty conversation, wasted time, etc. are all things that can creep into your life and stop you from running this race like you potentially could. We are told to "lay aside every weight". This doesn't mean that we can't enjoy a little recreation here and there. We all need to take breaks sometimes, and "catch our breaths" so to speak. Just make sure that it keeps it's proper place: to restore, refuel, and refresh you in order to be more effective in the future. Note that we are called to run with "patience" (or endurance).
2) What should drive us? What is our goal and motivation in the race of the Christian life? It is Christ! A runner must have his eyes set on the prize. He must be focused. "Looking to Christ..." This is how we live the Christian life. "Looking to Christ;" considering (thinking, meditating on) Him as verse 3 says. "Consider Him" says verse 3--and why? So you don't become weary and faint.
2 Corinthians 3:18 says "And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit." So how do we get closer to God? How do we become more like Christ? By focusing on Him! As a runner focuses on the goal set before him/her, and runs with endurance to get closer to it and to reach it, so must we! Christ is our treasure! Christians, let us be focused on our prize. The fun and entertainments of this world are NOTHING compared to the infinite joy and fulfillment of knowing God. They are passing away. They are futile and temporary. They can be distractions and "weights" if we aren't careful. Let us focus on our prize, which is God Himself, and run with endurance the race that will bring us closer to Him!