On my return walk this morning (the downhill section!), I was overtaken by a young jogger. We said hi as she passed, just as I and the other walkers/joggers had done this morning, and I noticed she was ‘carrying’ weights – strapped to her body.
“I’m carrying weight too,” I smiled to myself. “Didn’t need to strap any extra on!”
My conversation with myself (I have many) reminded me of some race-running analogies in the Bible.
The writer of Hebrews in the New Testament has just finished a brief, condensed recap of some of Israel’s biographical history. The personal stories of men, women, their families and descendants who hopefully-endured, waited, sat under and with their circumstances or calls to action. Trusting in God’s proven faithfulness to them in life on earth, and their having faith that he will fulfil all future promises.
Chapter twelve of Hebrews begins with a call, an invitation, a compelling, a challenge to us in light of such historical proves of God’s faithfulness and promise-keeping.
We are challenged to cast off and lay aside every bulging, bending, aching, all-encompassing weight and sin which would keep us from hitting the target, the mark, and receiving the prize of the unencumbered life eternal in unhindered loving relationship with our Heavenly Father. A life purchased at great cost to him and the son of God through whom we have access to this unencumbered life. A life which begins here on this earth and finds its fulfilment in the hereafter.
And what is the mark, the target, the prize we aim for and will receive if we’re actually/honestly searching…himself, God himself (Hebrews ch. 11 v 6). When it’s him we seek, it is himself he rewards us with.
And this was written for those who live after Christ Jesus has come, providing all that is necessary for us to reach the target. Before Jesus walked the earth as God in human flesh, in the Old Testament of the Bible, Jeremiah ch. 29 v10-14 (29:10-14), Israel were told that he (God) will be found by those who seek for, search out, the Lord with their whole self…current and future promises assured, and freedom from the ties that bind and constrict us. Ties keeping us from the mark and the loving relationship with him that awaits.
Is the weight that bulges, encompasses, constricts and binds you something you have strapped on? Are there unnecessary/unrequired things that you have taken on, mull over, slowing you down and skewing the view and scope of your direction?
Is this weight that keeps you from hitting your mark, skewing your aim for the person of Jesus and loving relationship with him and his people, something you ingest (like my carried extra weight), imbibe, devour?
Throw them off!
Lay them aside!
And Hebrews 11 not only tells us who the mark is, but how to aim and fly so that we make it to him…faith…”that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”
If you’re interested, here is a poem I wrote about The Mark