“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” – Hebrews 12:1

This verse is from the Bible.  It is a religious book and some that read this will think, “That’s nice but I just don’t buy in to the whole bible and Jesus thing.”  If that’s you, I understand, and I suppose the cliché “to each his own” fits in this instance.  But just for a second I’d encourage to take a fresh look at this statement and see what you find.  I think you might be surprised to find that these words, written nearly 2000 years ago are acutely relevant today.


What Would Grandpa Do

In the Christian tradition it is generally accepted that the great cloud of witnesses are those heroes of the faith that have preceded us in passing to eternity.  But consider this,  we all have people that we trust and respect and we endeavor to make them proud of us.  We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that says “What Would Jesus do?”  But what if you don’t believe Jesus, then what.  Maybe you could ask, what would grandpa do?  Or whoever you might imagine to be a member of your cloud of witnesses.

It’s A Trap!

Admiral Ackbar was right sometimes it is a trap!  And there are lots of them.  The language used in this bible verse is encumbrance and sin.  Let’s be honest no one really uses those kinds of words any more.  We don’t have encumbrances, we have challenges to be met, or complexities to be managed.  We don’t like negativity so we spin and use words that make our struggles sound like an adventure.  I suppose there is merit in that at times but sometimes, but lets face it, sometimes our encumbrances are self-inflicted and if we just “lay them aside” escape may not seem so unattainable or hopeless.  We may not need to go on an adventure sometimes we might need to just stop hitting the snooze button and get our behinds out of bed.  Or maybe go see a counselor and get some help.

Dirty Words

We don’t talk about sin anymore, it’s almost a dirty word.  You can sometimes see people physically cringe when you mention the concept of sin.  As someone who has a degree in biblical studies I suppose this is an appropriate response.  However, is it possible there is more to sin than the acts of evil that condemn us all to death and hell?  Again, if you don’t buy into all that Jesus and Bible stuff, isn’t there a different definition for sin?  My guess as you’re reading this you’re thinking of things that you have done or are doing that you know are wrong and that you won’t do again or know you should stop doing.  You maybe just wouldn’t call them sin.  Also if you’re honest you probably know in your heart of hearts those things may be holding you back, “entangling” you.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

It takes no special wisdom to know that marathons take endurance and in order to be successful at a marathon you have to pace yourself.  Neither would anyone argue that life is any different.  Avoiding destructive behavior and thought patterns that hold us back never stop chasing us, we have to be diligent in guarding ourselves from the “encumbrances and sin that so easily entangles us.”  (Side note: They “easily” entangle us, we don’t even have to try, they seem to come looking for us.)  On top of that, we have to keep our guard up all the time.

Now what about all this Bible stuff?  I see it this way,  I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God.  Whatever you believe about the Bible, well I suppose that’s up to you.  But I hope I have at least inspired you to ask, “knowing what we know about life and our experience here on this planet, isn’t it interesting that 2000 years ago, and in some cases thousands earlier, we were already told what we would experience today in 2015?

'Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,' - Hebrews 12:1 This verse is from the Bible.  It...