“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Close your eyes and imagine a great crowd of Christians around you. Think about all the people in the Bible. Think about your ancestors who knew Jesus. Think about Jesus himself standing in that crowd. They surround you. They begin cheering for you on your journey.
Now imagine yourself trying to run in the direction they’re pointing, but you can’t get anywhere. Your feet are mired down and you carry huge chains around your whole body. You have a backpack full of boulders and shoes full of lead. Your legs are wrapped in terrible thorns, so every time you try to move towards Jesus, the briars and thorns keep you caught.
The writer of Hebrews asks us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles” so we can run our race and fix our eyes on Jesus.
Ask Jesus to point out what’s hindering you. What’s keeping you from Him? What’s entangled around your heart so you can’t fix your eyes on the Lord? Maybe it’s a toxic relationship, an activity, or a thought-process. That’s between you and the Lord. When He shows you, ask Jesus to help you “throw off” that thing. Ask for His forgiveness and pray for His power.
It’s not going to be easy.
Once I was caught in a thorn bush. It was easy to get in—I just stumbled right in there—but oh it was so hard to get out. The thorns were lodged in my shorts, my arms, my legs, and my socks. I tried to pick each one out and break free, but the bush was entangled all around me. Finally, I took a deep breath and pressed my way out, but I had wounds to show for it.
It hurts to break free from sin sometimes. It doesn’t want to let you go. But Jesus is with you, and He will heal you. Just because it will be so hard to leave the thorns doesn’t means you should stay in them.
What’s entangling you?