At the starting line of a 5k (3.1 miles) once, I saw a man wearing a weighted vest. I’m assuming he wore it for the entire race, but I can’t say for sure as my view from the back of the pack did not include keeping track of this particular individual.
Supposedly, running with weights can improve running time and increase endurance. Wearing weights while running should also burn more calories without having to increase distance or speed. For those of us who already struggle to complete a run of 5k or more, the idea of running with added weight seems crazy.
In fact, in all of the races I have run during my many years of being a runner, this is the first person I’ve noticed wearing extra weights during a race. Most of the runners, especially the really good ones, the ones who run to compete, run with very little on their body. In fact, the front-runner almost always has the bare minimum needed based on the weather.
“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, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
In our physical lives, the idea of running with added weight seems foolish to most people. In our spiritual lives, however, most of us carry extra weight that prevents us from running the best race possible even though doing so is not only foolish but can prevent us from a strong finish.
The weights I commonly carry as I run “the race marked out” for me include comparisons, fear, and pride. Those weights show my failure (i.e., sin) to believe that Jesus is enough. It’s my failure to believe that He created me for a specific purpose, and He will make that purpose come to fruition. It’s fear over my kids not following God instead of my having faith to believe God for their security. It’s also my pride that keeps me from asking for help and from admitting my dependence on Him.
Our focus after we’ve cast off those weights that trip us up is one that allows us to endure the race of our lives.
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.” (Hebrews 12:2)
What does a focus on Jesus do for our ability to run with endurance? Just like any runner wanting to improve her speed or endurance or any other aspect of her running will look to the experts who have successfully gone before her, so too must we look to Jesus as we seek to improve how we run this race of life.