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.
Go outside and find a nice open spot for running. This is what I told the kids, “When we are running, we can think about Jesus. The apostle Paul says that running a race is like living as a Christian.”
Also read 2 Timothy 4:7-8. Paul says,
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day---and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
When we are running hard, we can imagine running towards Jesus. Nothing is going to stop us from running to Him!
There is a lot to this verse. I divided it into lessons, but Brian ended up teaching it to the children all in one morning. This worked out just fine.
Who is this “great cloud of witnesses”?
We live across the street from a track field. We went to the field and sat in the middle. We read Hebrews 11. All of these people are heros of faith and they are watching us from heaven, cheering us on as we live our life.
Work out the Imagery:
Who can you see in the stands? We imagined men and women of the Bible. We imagined people from different countries around the world. Isaiah, Brian, and I imagined spiritual heros we have read in books. Many people have come before us. They have run the race (lived the Christian life). Now it is our turn. Are you guys ready? As we ran around the track, we imagined a "great cloud of witnesses" cheering us on.
Another day we watched this video to give the kids of an idea of a stadium of people. I said, "There are more people in heaven than at this soccer game. The people in heaven are cheering you on, 'Fight the good fight. Finish the race. Stay clear of sin. Keep going and don't give up."
"throw off everything that hinders and
the sin that so easily entangles"
Why would it be a good idea to throw stuff off in a race?
Let's find out.
I filled our largest backpack with cans of food. The kids took turns running with it.
Throw off the backpack. It is much easier to run without that weight. It is even harder to live a life as a Christian if sin is pulling us down. Sin is a weight. When we get rid of our sin, we can run stronger, faster, and easier than ever before. Brian liked the sin backpack. We are keeping it in a visible place in our home so we can all be reminded of the weight of sin.
Another day as we were walking our puppy, Dr. Koop, I talked about the "sin that easily entangles." When Dr. Koop's leash gets tangled in his feet, we have to stop and untangle him, only then is he free to run. It is the same with us. Sin entangles us. It makes it so we can't run the race (live the Christian life). We need to stay away from sin!
What does it mean to run with perseverance?
No matter what, keep going. Stay focused on Jesus.
Each time we recite Hebrews 12:1, I finish the verse by asking the kids to run and run and run. I shout, "Keep running. Run with perseverance." After awhile I say, "Stop. We ran with perseverance. Where did our running take us?" The kids shout, "Jesus!" and that's it. The kids have learned the goal of Christian living!
How has the race be marked out for us?
When runners run on a track field, they know where they are going. The path is clearly marked out for them. It is the same with our lives. We know the path that God wants us to take. He tells us in the Bible (John 14:6). The path is paved with humility, kindness, love, gentleness, and obedience.