Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Last night I was able to celebrate 29 years of God's grace in my life. The fact that I lived the majority of those years rebelling against my great Savior reminds me how patient and forbearing He has been with me. Then He came and rescued my rebellious soul from His wrath and called me His own. Now, as I keep begging daily for more grace, God has given me a team. You know a lot is made of sports in our society and everyone has a favorite team they cheer and love. Well it's no different for us, the church. My wife, my favorite team member, graciously had my greatest teammates write letters of encouragement to me for the 29 year celebration. As I read them on the couch last night I got to about the third card and just began to weep and it never stopped until later on that evening. I was in awe how much the team cared and loved me but more importantly they love Christ so much and wanted nothing more than my life to reflect that glory. So how does that work?
My first thought went to Hebrews 12:1-2. It hit me that we need to have "a cloud of witnesses" right here on this earth doing exactly what the Bible teaches. Sin is a serious thing and needs to be fought constantly but the road never ends until we see Jesus face to face. We need those who love us enough to show us sin in our life. Then they can run along side you saying, "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus." Jesus, He makes this all possible. How? Jesus is "the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross." That is how it's all possible the cross. There is one road and one race and when a team reflects on the one way they all got on the one narrow road there is nothing but grace and love for those also running that same race, therefore we all run as one team. Praise God for His grace and love and that He conquered death and satisfied His wrath by crushing His Son, Jesus Christ, who "is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."