The word for “throw off” or “lay aside” implies, in Greek, excess body bulk. It may also refer to the heavy garments one wears that must be “thrown off” as one prepares to make the run. Everyone knows what extra baggage can do to a runner in a race . . . no serious runner would ever consider carrying around extra gear when they are competing to win. Yesterday, we read about the “witnesses” who have gone before us. They are the examples for us. This is the essence of self-discipline in the Christian life. It is our responsibility before God to cast aside those things that become serious extra baggage.

Think about the person who bought himself a Bowflex, an exercise bike, a treadmill, an elliptical trainer, and a brand new set of workout clothes. He went to use some of his equipment and he said, “Whoa, I forgot to buy something that would get me started!” And so he never began; he never learned self-control.

We are literally surrounded by examples from both the Old and New Testaments, as well as contemporary examples of faith. These men and women had self-discipline. They knew what it was to throw aside the things that would distract them and keep them from finishing the race. These witnesses saw the eternal like you and I see this coming weekend. They understood what we need to understand. The spiritual life is the only life. Run it with patience starting today.

By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – C.H. Spurgeon

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder