Paul is urging us to do similarly in this passage when he urges us "let us strip off every weight that slows us down." (Pxhere)

Long-distance runners know the importance of not carrying around any unnecessary weight during a race. Every bit of weight you can strip off can help. I remember the days when the numbers you'd wear on the front of your shirt were made of paper. Before races, I would cut the paper down as small as possible before I pinned it to my running singlet.

Paul is urging us to do similarly in this passage when he urges us "let us strip off every weight that slows us down" (Heb. 12:1b, NLT). Here he is particularly talking about sin ... "especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress" (Heb. 12:1c, NLT). And he says that we do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish.

Are you trying to make a change in your behavior to improve your health? It can be difficult at times—really difficult. Lots of obstacles can get in our way, including our own sin. This sin can be a blockage between us and God. It can diminish the power that we could otherwise receive from Him through the Holy Spirit. As in running a long-distance road race, when we are in a long and testing "race" of trying to change health-related behavior we will be more successful if we're stripped of as many obstacles along the way as possible.

The more we are focused on our source of greatest strength, Jesus, the more likely we will be able to strip of any "weight" that hinders us from making the kind of behavior change that would enable us to take better care of our health. Are you being hindered by things in your effort to change a specific behavior? Try focusing more on Jesus and see if some of those "weights" aren't stripped away!

Dale Fletcher, executive director of Faith and Health Connection Ministry, is a speaker and wellness coach who lives in Fort Mill, South Carolina. He conducts workshops and retreats on the link between the Christian faith and health. Connect with Dale at faithandhealthconnection.org and on Facebook.

This article originally appeared at faithandhealthconnection.org.

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