“KEEP ON RUNNING”
MERRY MONDAY- BY PARRIS BAILEY
“Therefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us
lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” Heb.12:1
Many of you have heard our story over and over again about the Seminary we went to in 1973 called God’s Army located in the San Joaquin Valley in California. Within the year of our being there, the school did an about face and changed the school from being a two year program to a “life commitment”. Frank and I really weren’t ready to leave so staying seemed the better option.
We stayed a total of 6 years-going back and forth to Oregon and Washington to plant trees, Phoenix and New Orleans to plant churches. It was hard, very hard, but looking back always brings a satisfaction knowing God was faithful to see us through. In today’s verse some observe that the word “weight” signifies a tumor or swelling; and so may mean the tumor of pride and vain glory, in a man’s own righteousness, which appears in an unwillingness to stoop to the cross, and bear afflictions for the sake of the Gospel.” The Arabic version also renders it, “every weight of luxury”. It seemed God used this “God’s Army” to test our endurance. God used this place to cut off “our tumors”.
Expositor’s Bible says; “A race implies both a hope and a contest. Such is the aim of faith. The conflict is more complex and difficult to explain. There is first of all, a conflict in the preparatory training, and this is twofold. We have to strive against ourselves and against the world. We must put away our own grossness, as athletes rid themselves by severe training of all superfluous flesh.” The good news is that it isn’t our own effort that keeps us in the race. Expositor goes on to say; “Faith delivers us from grossness of spirit, from lethargy, earthliness, stupor. Faith will also lift us above the terrible pressure of the world’s sin. Faith has the heart that still hopes, and the hand that still saves. Faith resolutely puts away from her whatever threatens to overwhelm and impede, and makes herself a large room to move freely in.”
Another translation talks about the “sin standing around us”, we certainty don’t have to look to far, the picture this paints is one of beasts encircling a campfire waiting to pounce. To “run” this race; which includes both doing and suffering for Christ; it is a motion forward, a pressing towards the mark for the prize, a going from strength to strength, from one degree of grace to another; and to it swiftness and agility are necessary; and when it is performed aright, it is with readiness, willingness, and cheerfulness: it requires strength and courage, and a removal of all impediments, and should be done “with patience”.
Let us run to obtain!