Running the Race (Part 1 of 3)

What weight and "easily encompassing sin" do I need to lay aside?

October 24, 2020

"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."

Hebrews 12:1

Part 1

Today:  An Encouraging Cloud of Witnesses

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.”
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is called the “Hall of Faith.”  The writer gives us a brief but non-exhaustive history of faithful believers who have lived their lives for the Lord.  He begins with Able and tells us of many who suffered and died for their faith.

“Wherefore,” in our verse for today, points us back to all of these faithful saints he has mentioned in chapter 11.  Based on their lives of faith, what comes next makes sense.

“So great a cloud.”  What is this “cloud?”

“Both the Greeks and Latins frequently use the term cloud, to express a great number of persons or things; …a dense cloud of shields; …a cloud of spearmen.  The same metaphor frequently occurs”[1] (Clarke).

This cloud is many people who have gone before us and faithfully given their lives for the Lord.  Their lives certainly are examples to us.

The “cloud of witnesses” in chapter 11 shows those of us believers who live today that we can live a life of faith that brings glory to our Lord.  The testimonies of these “witnesses,” teach us of the faith, patience, and courage that we must have to endure in our witness for the Lord.  They gave their all for Him.  To encourage your heart in your life’s race, read once again about these heroes of the faith (Hebrews 11).


Lifting Weights?

“Let us lay aside every weight.” (a)
Because believers need to “run with patience” in their race, some practical considerations are necessary.  First, the writer says we need to “lay aside every weight.”

Back in the day in high school, when training for the sports of soccer, basketball, and track, we wore what we called “spats.”  These were ankle weights and were heavy canvas covers that sat atop my tennis shoes and surrounded my ankles.  They had pouches to which lead bars could be added to weigh down my feet.  I did just about every outdoor activity with them attached to my feet, ran in them, and even mowed the grass and went to work wearing them.[2]  This was all supposed to help build up the leg muscles.  For a couple of summers, they were nearly my constant companions, only removed at night, bedtime.  One thing gleaned from this exercise is that when it came time for the game or race, it was time to take off the “spats.”  Why?  Obviously, any extra weight slowed down the running process; additional weights can only be detrimental to performance.

What things do we allow in our lives that steal time from our family or ministry to others?  Tomorrow we will discuss these “weights” some more.  See you then.


Quote:  “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).  In the last days, people have much knowledge, but their life race is meaningless without Christ.  Believers, we need to run right and be faithful in our witness.




[1] Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
[2] Today, I’m not so sure that this was the best way for me to workout.  Now I understand that the ankle weights can add extra stress on joints, ankles, knees, and hips.  Two knee replacements already, and hoping the hips will make it, 8-).  Check with a sports doctor or trainer before going this route in your daily exercise routine.  The lesson was learned too late here!