The immense group of witnesses is large enough to blot out the sky, not just a little, black raincloud. And since that crowd is all around us, we need to set aside, cast away each individual opposing element and the whole of the opposition which will burden or encumber our course of life and the sin, the missing of the mark, the wandering from the path of uprightness and honor, the offense which so skillfully and besettingly wraps it tentacles around our physical, emotional, spiritual selves. And, in steadfastness and constancy, allow ourselves to run, hasten, strive hard, spend our strength, take upon ourselves great risks which demand overwhelming sacrifice in order to overcome those struggles, contests, battles or trials as they are appointed or destined for us.
It is not just a race, not just a burden, not just a sin...it is whatever trips us up, distracts us, weighs us down from the goal of winning the race. It is whatever causes us to undershoot or overlook the mark, to delay us from the pursuit of triumph, to miss holiness. And it is life. LIFE.
The witnesses, as the "Therefore" implies, are those that are referenced in the previous chapter. But, consider that those witnesses to the life of faith are not the only witnesses of our lives, our races, our finishes. What about those that tangibly surround us; our family, neighbors, co-workers, clerks, ... Those that see firsthand and often without any divine enlightenment or faith-filters how we endure the race, how we put off any besetting thing, how we avoid the snares and tangles of the world and the enemy. How would they describe holy, if they only had me for example? Would what I discard and desist be for their good? Do my cultural interludes glorify God or the world...the enemy?
Some months ago, the Lord strongly directed my to lay down watching two of my favorites shows...as a matter of fact, they were the only shows that I watched that year. When I understood what He asked, I had a choice - which was, only by His grace, an easy one. As I consider the content of the shows, and I shudder to think of how I promoted that by my attendance. What the shows purported to be about often fell by the wayside as the subplots screamed perversion, unholy passions and just plain meanness, (and it was just regular T.V.). Sure, the music was great in the one and the crime-solving was interesting in the other; but when I mention the names of the shows, rarely were those attributes discussed.
Whatever ensnares, entangles or threatens, Lord, help me to cast it off. Please help me to be useful to help others cast off the same in their lives. Help me to see Your holiness as the measure and purity as the goal that I may be a credible witness to a life of faith, as those who have gone before me are proving to be for me. Strengthen me, that I might have the tenacity for constancy and that my rebellious ways may be used to push away from sin. I praise Your Faithful Name.