Heb. 12:1-4 NLT1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. 4 After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
The Hebrew Writer described the "published" members of this "great cloud of witnesses" in the excerpts from Chapter 11 that we read yesterday. There are many, many more and the 'cloud' includes us. These days we hear the notion of a 'cloud' used with the weather and even with computers. It refers to an extensive interlinked association of resources that interact with each other for a common purpose. A computing cloud, for example, involves huge numbers of internet resources, sites, and even hardware that can be linked in a common task. A 'witness cloud, then, it would follow, is an interlinked relationship among innumerable saints alive and also in heaven with the Lord, interacting together for a common purpose-- the final revelation of God for creation anointing and inaugurating Jesus Christ as Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Creator-God! Not only are you and I surrounded by them, but the great cloud includes us!
The writer, therefore urges us to "strip off every weight that slows us down. . ." What slows you down in your Christian walk? What distracts you from complete obedience and trust in the Lord for daily life? What trips you up in your walk of faith? Why not lay such things aside, asking the Lord to remove them from you and enhance your way for Him? The Writer says that we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus. The world is a temptation to divert our eyes. If our eyes become diverted then our thoughts, then our minds, then our emotional desires (the "heart"). Why? Because Jesus is "The Champion who initiates and perfects our faith." He starts our faith. He makes our faith perfect when we permit it. He champions us in the presence of God and the angels as our advocate. He makes us to function according to His priorities and will when we submit self to Him.
I pray this day is one in which you are running the good race with the 'great cloud of witnesses' and are reaching out to others to join you.
Your servant in Christ's Love