Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (NIV) Hebrews 12:1
To win the race it takes more than just running with endurance. The author of Hebrews writes that we are to throw off everything that hinders us. We are to get rid of all encumbrances and entanglements. An encumbrance is excess weight for the runner. The Greek custom was to strip off clothes to run unencumbered. They wanted to get rid of anything that hindered their progress.
We are also instructed to throw off every entanglement, anything hindering or preventing progress toward spiritual maturity. Specifically we are to “throw off” the sin that entangles us. Notice that this is not something God does, this is what we do daily. For us, in our race of faith, encumbrances could be procrastination, lack of mental discipline, impatience, not forgiving others, indifferent attitudes, jealousy, gossip, selfish ambition, or any sin that God brings to your mind.
It is Christ’s death on the cross that enables us to come to Him, confess our sins, and claim forgiveness. A look back with acknowledgment of what Christ has done for you will motivate you in your forward progress in your own race of faith. Looking back to the Cross is the motivation to keep looking to the future…to run with endurance.