Disciplined Warrior Athletes Required - The Athlete - Hinderance & Endurance

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Hebrews 12:1
"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 endurance the race that is set before us."

A striking image from film, that reminds me of this verse is from '300' when the king takes off his helmet because it stifles his vision & he wants his aim to be accurate & he drops his shield because it is heavy at one side and throws his balance off, then runs and throws his javelin at Xerxes (watch the clip).
Although, I have to say Christian's aren't told to lay down their armour, rather to put on the full armour of God (Ephesians 6:13), it does serve as an illustration of laying aside those things which can hinder us from our goal.

In athletics no runner comes to the starting block with jeans, pullover & d.m. boots; that would just be silly. Likewise we as Christians are called to 'throw off everything that hinders', to get rid of those things that slow our progress with Christ, that hinder us from passionately following our saviour & from defeating sin in our lives.

We are also called to throw off 'the sin that so easily entangles'.
For many there seem to be particular 'weaknesses' to certain sins, temptations that seem to have stronger grip on us than any other. Christ calls us to 'throw off' these sins because they are huge obstacles in our running of this race that is set before us.

And we are called to 'run with endurance'.
The Christian life is not a mere sprint, but more like a cross-country marathon. Many come to Christianity full of zeal & passion yet after a short while that fire seems to depart. Many others come, again, full of zeal but snares & cares of this world (as Jesus describes in the parable of the sower), choke their zeal & they soon depart.

There will be times in the Christian life when we face hardships, when we get a proverbial stitch, when opposition comes in hard and when the race seems far above our fitness level.
But as the footballer doesn't come off the pitch crying after the first tackle or the runner doesn't pack it in after their first injury, & as the marathon runner doesn't tire themselves out in the first moments of the race but rather sees that its a long distance ahead; we are called to endure this race; to keep on going, steadily pursuing Christ in ongoing zeal & passion.

I once heard a call for cardiac Christians who's heart beat continues steady, as opposed to adrenaline Christians who take tiny bursts rather than continuous & steady growth in the faith.

Hebrews 12:2&3 gives Christ as a great illustration & example of this as well as giving us direction as to how to keep going.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."

The cross was not an easy hurdle for Christ to get over, rather it was painful & bloody. But He endured because of the 'joy' that would be accomplished as He redeemed for Himself the Church, making a way for sinful humans to come back into relationship with Holy God.
As athletes press forward in endurance for that medal or that reward, we can look forward to the future rewards of following Christ, His promises to us for faithful perseverance in seeking first the Kingdom of God.

So lets 'throw off our hindrances and endure the race!

{For more in this series go here}

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