“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
In these verses, the writer of Hebrews is drawing imagery from the world of sport. Athletes in ancient Greece ran naked. Yup, weird. But that’s how it was done. Generally speaking, clothes were loose and flowing. So if you tried to run a race, your legs and arms could get tangled.
Today, swimmers shave excess hair and bobsledders wear skin-clinging suits. It helps with speed. In the ancient world, they simply stripped down.
With that in mind, our text says we should “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” Let me connect the dots. Sin is the cumbersome toga which may be preventing your own growth in holiness as you run the race which God has marked out for you.
I share this today because it’s the start of a new year. A lot of people make resolutions. I’m not big on resolutions; but I am big on constantly re-evaluating what we’re doing and whether or not it helps or hinders Christlikeness.
I’d like to direct our attention to something that has perhaps flown under the radar in your life. What online media do you consume which may be entangling you? And by ‘media’ I mean whatever you mentally digest on the internet—with movies, websites, Netflix, music, social media, or with your phone?
Today’s text tells us to fix our eyes on Jesus. It’s hard to do that when they’re fixed on God-dishonouring and God-disregarding media.
Maybe you’re doing fine. Maybe you’re the exception to the new digital normal. But maybe you already know that something needs to change. This devotional is a reminder—and the moment is now. Some of you will simply need to set better parameters. Some of you may need to throw out your phones.
I encourage you to deliberately think about whether your media diet is hindering or helping your Christlikeness.
Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
—New Podcast: “Something forgotten, fun facts, and curiosities about the Christmas story.” This episode shares an informal, interactive time with the congregation on Christmas morning as I answer these questions and more. Click here to listen or subscribe to ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you listen to podcasts.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.