Life is a race. An endurance race that is. Not a sprint. But a marathon. Starting well is as important as finishing strong.
We get a glimpse of this amazing race of life in Hebrews 12:1 that says,
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
To run well and finish strong we have to be free.
Total freedom is found nowhere else but in the Kingdom of God. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “…where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.” God designed us to live in freedom. Freedom is living in His Presence.
Hebrews 12 gives us valuable insights to freedom. To appreciate this chapter better, let us briefly look at Hebrews 11. In this chapter we learn a profound description of faith. Faith sees the unseen. The rest of the chapter unfolds with heaven’s list of the heroes of faith—men and women of old who dared to believe God against all odds. They risked everything. They faced resistance, mockery and persecution. They stared death on the eyes. They never wavered. They believed. They lived in total freedom.
Living for God is true freedom. A life of faith is a life of freedom. Total freedom comes from risking it all—all for Him.
The baton is on us. We are running the race. The last verse of Hebrews 11 says, “God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (Heb 11:40)
This is both encouraging and sobering. God has provided something better for us. Christ in us is the difference. The heroes of faith, glorious as they are in their exploits for God, are waiting on us to complete the race. They are made perfect with us. Together we are glorious.
Hebrews 12:1 gives us three important keys to living in freedom—to run free and to live free.
1. Look up. Live from the view of heaven. Live your life through eternity’s sight. That realm is influencing our realm. We are not alone. The heavenly cloud of witnesses is watching us. They have paved the way. We are riding upon their momentum. And all of heaven cheers and encourages us to finish the race set before us. We are part of the unfolding of God’s glorious eternal plan. Look up and be free from all the limitations of this life.
2. Let go. There are two things that quickly entangle and ensnare us—weight and sin. These two traps hinder and stop us from finishing the glorious race. Weight would represent baggages, issues, struggles, lies, unforgiveness, offenses, fears, anxieties, worldly concerns, wrong beliefs, wrong choices, habits, lifestyle and thought patterns that often slow us down and sabotage our faith. ‘The sin’ represents not just the sins that we do, it is the law (principle and the life) that we live from. Paul wrote, “walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” To live in the flesh is death and decay. To live by the leading of the Holy Spirit is life and freedom. Let go of these entanglements and live free in the Holy Spirit.
3. Endure. The value of our freedom is revealed in the battles we fight. There will be testings. There will be pain. The race is long. But grace is available to sustain us to the end. Faith increases our capacity to endure. We experience His faithfulness as we remain faithful to Him and His promises. Endurance brings out character, maturity and glory. Those who endure are free. Like freedom, endurance is a choice to make before the race begins. There are no other options.
Run free and live free.