Verse: Hebrews 12:1-3
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 perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I have always loved this verse. It reminds me of the thousands who have come before me, and makes me feel comforted, encouraged, and not alone. It also shakes me out of whatever funk I may have fallen into on any given day.

I’m an over-thinker, and a negative mental cycle can really throw me. But this verse will shake me right out of that. Have you ever run a race? I did, once. It was great. It came at a time when I wasn’t too sure if I was worth much. But the race taught me that I was strong, and that I could do challenging things. And having friends and family on the sidelines, yelling, handing out water, taking pictures, well, I wasn’t running alone. I was in good shape, and I could do it just fine, but I ran better, knowing there were people waiting for me at the end. And people watching all along the way.

This verse reminds me that there are many, though I may not be able to see them, who are cheering me on, hoping for me to finish well, and make good decisions along the way. And it reminds me of what was given up for me, and for you, for the joy of watching us run unhindered all the way to the end. The sin that so easily entangles might be a thought pattern, an ugly habit, a way of dealing with others or with stress. It might be small, or it might be large, but either way, it entangles. It trips us up, and makes forward movement a struggle – makes it exhausting. And Jesus didn’t mean for us to live that way. Not that the race isn’t hard, but he has freed us from entanglement. Sin is always there, trying to cling like a vine. But we can shake it off!

Jesus, you are our source of strength. Thank you for freeing me to run. I pray that my negative thoughts and patterns of behavior would be submitted to you. I surrender to you my day and my mind, and I ask you to help me step into the freedom which you bought so dearly. Amen.

Author: Emily Costa