“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.” Hebrews 12:1-3
I have given up several times in my life. And although the duration of my exasperation has varied from a few minutes, to several months, the one thing that each circumstance has in common is my reason for trying again. And that reason is my faith in God.
Each time I have given up, my faith also insufficient, and my focus was on my shortcomings and the desire to have things immediately rectified. Looking back over all the pain that I have, and continue to experience in my life, I realized that I had to take responsibility. I had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t change the past, but I also can’t pretend like yesterday never happened. But instead of limping forward on the crutch of bitterness, and shame, I have decided to use my past to help others, and to boldly proclaim the joy of God which continues to restore my heart, mind, and soul. I had to realize that my present situation is a direct result of the choices made moments before, and started making better choices about how, and with whom, I spent my time. And the future, is God’s responsibility. What I am able to do, I put every effort into doing it. And what I can’t do, is all up to God. I also realized I had to change my mindset from I can’t, to #AgainstAllOdds I will not give up. And I believe that in the simplest terms, this is what Paul was talking about in Hebrews 12:1-3.
This passage admonishes us to get rid of anything that will hold us back and to run the race before us. But in order to get rid of the “weights and sin”, that means that there are times that we must slow down, or even pause. We can’t get frustrated in our delays that result from various issues in our lives, but instead we must patiently deal with them, with the intention to keep running as soon as the issue is resolved. And when our faith is weak, we look to Jesus as the example of how to endure. He was faultless, yet suffered on behalf of the entire world. Against all the odds, Jesus remained faithful to His purpose and now He reigns in total victory. And that same victory lives inside of us, if we only believe.