Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses (the saints), let us also lay aside every weight (ὄγκον) and the sin that entangles easily, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood…” (Hebr 12: 1-3)

There are many worthy “causes” or struggles, which can foster my human sense of belonging, and make me want to get up in the morning. Today I am reminded in the passage from Hebrews that I have such a “cause.” It is “the race that is set out before us,” of the cross-carrying journey, pioneered by Christ Himself and traveled by “so great a cloud of witnesses.” It is the spiritual struggle, with its quiet challenges and victories, according to the light-filled principles of His word.

As I begin this year, let me embrace my primary “cause” once again, laying aside “every weight” or secondary matter that may obscure the simple-yet-not-easy task before me. Let me put my daily growth in Christ first, and other matters second, that I may be truly, uniquely useful to Him and others close to me. I let Him in today, the “perfecter of our faith,” to build with me and to do with me as He will, in the unique adventure that is “the race set out before us.

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