“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,…”
I transferred a little glob of glue from my finger to my hair the other day by accident. Boy, what a mess! I couldn’t comb through it. I couldn’t untangle it. I couldn’t ignore it. So I took drastic action. I cut it out.
The word beset (KJV) in Hebrews 12:1 brings a similar image to mind. In this passage, the writer encourages us to run the Christian race without any weights, encumbrances or sin since these things tend to tangle us up. Just substitute the word tangle for beset and the intent of the writer becomes clearer.
If you have ever tried to run in your bathrobe, you know how difficult it can be. So an ancient runner with a long garment on would find his legs helplessly tangled and thus would never win a race.
Funny thing about spiritual entanglement: it happens all too easily and often. That’s why the effective Christian journey eludes so many. Just when a full stride begins, it falters unexpectantly, the victim of some new Satanic conspiracy. The dark world knows our foibles all too well, and only the disciplined saint knows how to react, how to counter and conquer.
And it’s not only individuals who get tripped up. Churches can have the same problem. A church can find itself tangled in all kinds of avoidable sins that cause anger and hard feelings among its members and its community. Pride, selfishness, power struggles, avoidance of newcomers, etc., are all tangles that can keep a church from running an efficient race.
Well, I looked a little funny for a week or two after I cut out my glue glob. My hair wouldn’t comb right. But the entanglement was gone. Sometimes you just have to pick up the scissors and cut. Entanglements can ruin a race.
Go ahead. Get the scissors. I’ll wait.