By: Chris Eastwood

Lay aside every weight so you can run with patience this race.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Put on the whole armor of God
so you can fight the good fight of faith.
And keep your eyes on the prize up above,
and let nothing separate you from his love.

Whatever it is that’s keeping you from serving Jesus, put off! Put off right now!
Put off that former conversation!
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Put off that lying! Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.
Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Heb 12:1 -- “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

1 Cor 9:24 -- “…run in such a way to get the prize.”

While the anthem talks about running the race with patience and keeping our eyes on the prize, what strikes me is that as we sing this piece, we are admonished four times (in addition to the title of the anthem) to “lay aside every weight” and look to Jesus who is “the author and finisher of our faith.”

It seems appropriate with the summer Olympics having just been held to think on the images of the various events. Picture the track and field competitors, the swimmers, the gymnasts. Which one of them did you see enter their competition wearing a 100-lb back pack while they competed? Obviously -- no one. Who would do that? Who would sabotage themselves like that? And yet we do it to ourselves all too often.

The anthem orders us to “put off that lying, let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Certainly we know that lying to or about others is wrong, so why do we accept the lies Satan hurls at us about ourselves: “you can’t, you never, you’re not good enough, why would God care about you?” Jesus told us flat out that Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 6:44) Why would we believe anything he says?

Are we putting on the armor of God -- the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet that are fitted with readiness from the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (Eph. 6:10-18)? Or are we packing our own mismatched protective wear -- the belt of lies, the breastplate of self-pity, feet that are ready to flee because we don’t have faith, the shield of fear, the helmet of defeat, and the dull sword of the lies Satan would have us believe?

Rather than running the race set before us, we’re busy loading up that backpack, filling it with doubts, fears, and the biggest lie of all -- that what we’ve been promised through Jesus Christ somehow isn’t sufficient in and of itself and that there must be more.

Ditch the backpack -- lay it aside. Pick up the armor of God. Look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith -- the Alpha and the Omega. He is everything we need to run the race. And if we run it patiently and consistently, then the prize will be ours.


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