Hebrews 12:1 in the NIV (New International Version) says “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.”
Now a lot of folks have ideas about that word “sin” and before I get to the “secret hidden in plain sight” here, let’s go over that word “sin.”
“Sin,” in the Bible, is “to miss the mark.”
Something that hinders is a sin. Something that holds you back is a sin. Something that keeps you from doing the good you know you ought to do is sin. Something that gets in your way, yet you choose it anyway, that is a sin.
If you want to run a race, but you sit on your butt drinking beer all the time, or eating potato chips or whatever stops you from running the race – that is “sin.”
The good news about that is you can always choose to do something better instead.
The context the writer of Hebrews gives is in the context of the ideal of being like Jesus.
Just a quick word here. Lots of people will try to shame you in the name of religious beliefs. They will tell you to “be like Jesus,” yet they themselves cannot do ANYTHING that Jesus did – some of them do not even know how to forgive.
The question here is not “what do other people think of me?” Or “Do other people approve?”
The question is “What is my Ideal, and am I pursuing that?”
I mentioned a “secret hidden in plain sight.”
I have loved reading Hebrews – especially Hebrews 11 for many years, and yet I did not notice what was “hidden in plain sight.”
I saw it, I thought I understood it, but I didn’t really.
The writer talks about the great Bible “heroes of the faith” and how they kept on their path of faith and held to their values and ideals (even those who fell flat on their faces at times), and even in the face of great difficulty.
And he calls up “witness after witness after witness.”
Stick with me for a moment here, while I mention what “some folks do.”
Back over 100 years ago, during the Spiritualist Movement, people were doing seances and things like that to try to contact the dead – it is actually nothing new. It just was kind of “popular” back then.
You might have seen ads for “psychic mediums” who promise to do something along those lines.
Those people temporarily volunteer to be “inhabited” by an outside entity for the purpose of gaining information.
What the writer of Hebrews is talking about is something completely different.
Those who study this from a different point of view would call it “Overshadowing.”
Or perhaps you’re familiar with the idea of a “Mastermind Group.”
When we focus on something – whether it is on purpose or by default – we attract attention on the other side.
Don’t believe that happens? Read Daniel – where the angel told him that the answer was delayed in getting to him because of spiritual warfare.
What the writer of Hebrews does here is to choose – on purpose – to focus on people with specific character traits – perseverance, running the race to the end – even in times of difficulty – and sets up their story of endurance and holding on to what they truly value.
Well when you surround yourself with the CHOICE – and yes, it IS A CHOICE – to focus on things that you value, it draws to you assistance, it draws to you encouragement, it draws to you perseverance, it draws to you COURAGE to do the thing you know you ought to do.
Most folks choose by default.
They sit in front of the tv and soak it in. Or whatever they surf on the web.
You can choose on purpose to fill your mind with those things that help you get to where it is you want to go – your goals, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals!
One of my best friends – Dr. La Tourrette – told me a long time ago that most people’s hopes and dreams are dead by the time they are between the ages of 25-35.
It does not have to be that way.
You can choose!
Go read Hebrews 11-12, and notice how the writer there shows you how to choose in ways that help you keep on keeping on.
Talk with you again soon!
Author, Speaker, Minister, ESP Trainer, Musician, blab, blab, blab…