Hebrews 12:1-2 1THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, 2Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
The next part of this passage says- looking away from all that will distract. I spent a few years in Louisville, Ky where they run the Kentucky Derby horse race every year. I don’t know if you have ever watched a horse race, but if you have you probably noticed that every horse is equipped with a set of blinders. Blinders are a set of leather or plastic cups that are placed on either side of the horse’s eyes. They restrict the horse’s vision so they can’t see behind them or even to the side of them. All they can see is the track in front of them. The blinders keep the horse focused on the race rather than being distracted by the crowds or other horses. When it comes to running our race, we need to put blinders on so that nothing around us causes us to lose our focus.
In Psalm 88:15 David says 15I was afflicted and close to death from my youth up; while I suffer Your terrors I am distracted [I faint]. When we allow things in our lives to distract us, we can grow weary in the race we are running. Remember that it says in Galatians 6:9 And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. We have to look away from everything that diverts our attention from our race. Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. They are not necessarily bad things, although they can be. They can also be good things. A distraction is simply anything that takes your focus off of the race you are running. Col 3:1-2 tells us 1IF THEN you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. In order to not be distracted from the course in front of us, we have to set our minds and keep them set on higher things. Setting our minds has to be done on a regular basis. We can’t look away from the path in front of us, but must determine that we will keep our eyes on the goal.