“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” — Hebrews 12:1 (NASB)

Recently, I was shopping for sporting gear and was amazed at the many choices. There were top-of-the-line running shoes that were almost feather light. I also saw running tops and shorts made of lightweight material.

I compared them to my current gear, and in comparison, my existing running equipment felt so heavy.

When the Hebrew writer spoke of the Christian life as a race, he said “…let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run…”

I thought of what he said, and realized that weight is important.

Have you ever seen a competitive runner carry a backpack or metal weights? A backpack is useful for carrying sports equipment, but after you have changed for the race, it is set aside. Weights are important for building strength and stamina, and are useful for warming-up, but are put away before the competition begins.

Different types of shoes are worn for different races. However, one thing they all have in common is that they must be light-weight and well-cushioned.

When the Hebrew writer says, “let us also lay aside every encumbrance…” he is speaking of things that may be a hindrance to us in the race. These encumbrances may not be sin, but can make it difficult for us to persevere.

On the other hand, we are also told to “…lay aside the sin which so easily entangles us…” In its immediate context it could range from discouragement, to unbelief, to apostasy. Temptation to sin is everywhere, waiting to trip us in our walk with God.

At the Olympics, which concluded about two weeks ago, I noticed how the athletes were clothed. Nothing seemed to suggest they were weighed down by what they wore or carried.

We are running a race – the Christian race. Like I mentioned in an earlier devotional, the Hebrew writer seemed to suggest that this is not just a sprint but a marathon.

I changed my heavy sporting gear to lightweight ones so that I can run better. How well “geared” are you for your spiritual race? What have you ever allowed to become a hindrance to your spiritual life? Even now, what must you lay aside, so that you can endure to the end?

Ask God to convict you if there is a sin that has entangled you. Confess that sin and He will give you strength to carry on.

Thought For The Week (TFTW) is contributed by Dr Koh Siang Kiang, Associate Professor (Christian Education) at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). She graduated from SBC and Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), USA, and has served in various ministries for more than 35 years, including teaching at DTS. Dr Koh has been with SBC for the last 10 years, and has a passion for people and teaching the Word of God. She also loves to make the Bible come alive by leading tours to the Holy Land, and has led 12 such trips. To help her relax, Dr Koh likes to cook and cross-stitch.