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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 that was 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

Imagine competing in the marathon at the Olympics and arriving in the stadium to the deafening applause of the crowd. Can you feel the rise in confidence and strength as they cheer you on?

This amphitheater or stadium-type setting is what the writer of Hebrews is painting as he describes the “cloud of witnesses” that have gone before us - generations of people who have loved God and followed Christ. We can gain confidence because there are many who have gone before us and faced great challenges yet finished well.

I encourage you to pray through this passage. Write down some of the weight and sin that slows you down in your faith - and then give those things to God today. Ask God to give you strength and endurance for your “race.” Ask God to give you focus to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus this week.