ENTANGLED ENTRANTS (Olympic Lessons 5) Hebrews 12:1
Karoly Takacas was a champion shooter in his native Hungary when his right hand, his pistol hand, was shattered by a hand grenade. Ten years later, in the 1948 Olympics, he won his first Olympic gold medal – using his left hand! Bob Wieland lost the use of his legs and could only walk on his hands. As a handicapped athlete, he has completed a 3-year walk on his hands across America, the New York City and Los Angeles marathons and the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon course in Kona, Hawaii. Sports are full of stories of those who haven’t quit when things got hard, heroes who overcame seemingly impossible odds to achieve their goals. Why didn’t they quit? What drove them? And how can we, as Christians, be like them in overcoming our obstacles in life? Hebrews 12:1 gives the answer. 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 perseverance the race marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
The picture is of an athlete running a race with spectators watching. We are watched as we live out our early lives. God Himself is watching. Angels are watching as well (1 Corinthians 4:9). They haven’t personally experienced God’s grace in their lives, so seeing Him show undeserved love and grace to us causes them to worship Him. Satan and demons are watching as well (Job 1-2). They look for openings to attack us and for sin in our life so they can point it out to God Revelation 12:10). Sporting teams scout their opponents, looking for weak areas to attack. Satan does the same. Sports teams must be aware of their own weak areas so they can work to improve them. Christians must do the same.
Unbelievers watch us, too. Some look for excuses to mock us and God, others are hoping for reason to believe and trust God as we do. In addition, other believers are watching. We can set a good example for them to follow and encourage and motivate them to faithfulness. Performing in front of others brings out the best in an athlete and it should also in Christians. Remember that you are always being watched, even when you think what you are doing is in private.
In order to do our best in our race through life we need to follow the example of athletes. Runners streamline their equipment and dress to cut back on air or water resistance. Runners wear tight, lightweight clothing. Swimmers even shave the hair off their bodies. Bicycles are lightweight and extremely slim. In our travel through life, we must set aside every sin, habit or distraction that interferes with our being all we can be as a child of God.
“The sin that so easily entangles” refers to those sins which most often trip us up. Demons watch to discover our cracks and weaknesses, then exploit them to defeat us. Each of us have our own areas of weaknesses which differ from those in others. We need to know what they are because the demons assigned to work against know our flesh weaknesses. We need to “throw them off” with God’s help.
What distractions keep you from running the best race you can? Which are the most dangerous hindrances to you faithfully living for Jesus? What extra weight do you carry around with you? Thank God for those who have been a good example of faithful Christian living to you. Thank Him for the sins He has entangled you from in the past.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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