What drags you down in life? In different seasons there are all kinds of events, troubles, and scenarios that can stop you in your tracks and slow you down. Growing up, I was a swimmer. Everyday you would find me in the pool for a few hours. Back in the day we would train wearing multiple suits to create “drag”. I remember sometimes layering up to 5 suits, the outer ones being old, deteriorated and disintegrated. It seemed that the more suits you wore, the cooler you were:) Jump 25+ years down the road and wearing multiple suits at practice is not the cool thing anymore. Now, you get to buy a drag suit. The above picture is a drag suit and even the girls wear these in practice.
Funny how the extra drag of a suit prepares a swimmer for a race. On race day of course you wear the one fastest suit you own that is as tight as possible. You shave any extra bodily hair and when you enter the water you feel like you are slipping through the water with ease. After all the training and now stripping the extra weight from the drag suit, you feel 100% sure that you will swim faster than you ever have before.
The purpose of this drag suit is to weigh you down and make it harder to swim. In todays reading of Hebrews 12 we hear the writer telling us about living with extra weight and things that drag us down.
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. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (bold, mine)
We trained hard for many hours a day in the drag suit, but ultimately we had to strip off the extra weight and drag to swim the ultimate race. God asks us this in life everyday! We are training to get to our ultimate joy awaiting us in heaven. Everyday we have to strip off the weight that drags us down.
What does it look like for you? What is it that weighs you down? Stress? Pressures to keep up with the neighbors? Work? Family relationships? Friends? The list is endless, whatever takes our eyes off of Jesus has the potential to weigh us down.
Everyday we are living out the race of life. Are you living well or weighed down with lots of baggage and sin? To get rid of the extra weight, the answer is pretty clear, we have to focus on Jesus.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus…”
This is the beginning of Hebrews 12 verse 2. We have to look at the example of Jesus. The verse goes on to tell us what that example was. The example is Jesus, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Jesus focused on the finish line. The joy of being at the right hand of his Father, having accomplished all that the Father sent him to do.
To win the swimming race, I had to take off all the extra suits that weighed me down. We can only live our best life when we strip off every weight that slows us down. If these things that weight us down are never addressed, we may never finish the race. Our sins may be like the drag suit and prevent us from living with freedom and endurance.
Thank you Jesus that we don’t have to run this race alone. As we run the race set before us and hold strong to our faith, may we find encouragement that we are not alone. In fact, we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses who have been there before us. We have people cheering us on, reminding us that the prize is worth it. Maybe you are being called to be the cheerleader for somebody else? To help encourage a neighbor or friend, to help lighten their load?