Another “S.O.A.P.Y.” study, based on Hebrews 12:1-2:
So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
Scripture: There is a race laid out before us and a great cloud of witnesses watching us, so we’d better run. Sin will weigh you down if you let it, so get rid of it! It will cause you to fall, too, if you’re not careful. To run well, you’ve got to focus on Jesus – the first and perfect runner. He endured all that our combined sin threw at him and still ran! He knew what awaited him at the end.
Observation: What is “the race”? Life. It’s a life of faith that seeks to follow God’s will. “Race” implies a course set out before you. God places that course of “possibilities” out in front of everyone; he directs and re-directs it after every choice we make that keeps us on course, takes us off course, or causes us to stop altogether. Sin’s role in all this? Not just our sin, but the sin of others, throws up obstacles in our path. A spouse’s decision, for example, can have a powerful effect on whether we stay “on course” or not. If our choices are within God’s “race course,” good! If they aren’t, if they are sin, they divert or delay our race. Cloud of witnesses? We usually picture these as a great, heavenly “cheering section.” But, what if our “witnesses” are earthly? Those who see us, or know us, or know of us, and watch us run our race? Jesus is our example, so we should focus on him. He took all the crap our sin could dish out and still managed to stay on course!
Application: When I’m moping around, because of past hurts, or current hurts; when I’m angry because of mean people that have crossed my path; when I’m wasting my time in envy or greed, I need to re-focus and keep running! I have to know God’s “race course” for my life. Maybe that isn’t a chronological list of choices I need to make, or steps I need to take. Maybe it is a mission. Maybe it is how I run my race as much as where I run?
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the path you’ve given me so far. Forgive me for straying. Forgive me for not being farther along than I am. Lay out the path and show me my “cheerleaders” to help me keep going.
Yield: Self-focus and sin – especially the “seven deadly” ones.