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, (Heb. 12:1 NIV).
The statement “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” gives us the illusion of spectators so great in number that they are innumerable. These are the Old Testament saints or “martyrs” who suffered in the cause and for the sake of their faith. They all looked with eyes of faith to the coming Messiah as they trusted in God’s faithfulness. They all bore a testimony for Christ and they are examples to us for all that they endured. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews provides a list of saints who fought the good fight of faith. Those who paved the way for us, their testimonies live on. They are examples to us of how we can be supportive of one another as we endure with patience the race that is set before us.
The race marked out for us not only requires faith but steadfastness, strength, endurance, commitment, and discipline. We are to remove every burden that keeps us from being like Christ. By putting off our former conversations, and doing away with all sin and its evil practices; we are not to become entangled by the yoke of bondage again. We are to lay aside every weight of doubt and disbelief and run with patience to the end. This race is written to encourage believers not to faint the midst of test and trials, but to persevere in faith. It is in the midst of our test and trials that faith is produced. We grow from strength to strength and from faith to faith. Our test and our trials are the teaching tools used to test of our faith.
The Christian race is like a lifelong marathon that we run until the end. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and run with patience the race set before us, setting our minds and our hearts on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By looking at Christ our faith will be strengthened and we will be renewed in spirit and of heart. Be willing to encourage and strengthen others to endure and to be patient in all things. Let us be inspired by the godly examples of the saints who have gone before us. Most of all consider it pure joy and rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:12 NIV).
Bountiful blessings to you!