"As followers of Christ, we will be able to run further faster if we don’t have sin clinging to us and weighing us down. If you want your relationship with Jesus to go to the next level then it starts with you stripping down… If you want to pick up the pace in your pursuit of Jesus, then start by stripping off the sin that is weighing you down. All of these things, whether big or small, add weight to our lives and slow us down in our pursuit of Jesus."
This seems sensible and maybe inspirational but this is not the gospel and will crush people rather than setting them free. If I have to strip off my sin in order to take my relationship with Jesus to "the next level" then I've got no chance. If I have to get rid of the weight around my neck then I'm hopeless.
It sounds a bit like Hebrews 12, but with us as the active party and Jesus in the distance waiting for us to catch up. The actual Hebrews 12 is a bit different:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.John Piper on this passage:
(Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV)
"It might be very easy to hear the command, "Run the race! Fight the fight!" and conclude that obeying that command and finishing the race and making it to glory depends decisively on us. But that would be a great mistake. We are responsible to obey. But the writer wants to encourage us to look to Jesus. Verse 2: "Looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith."
I see Jesus as the pioneer and perfecter of our faith in three ways.
So don't even begin to think that finishing this race will redound to your glory because it depended on your strength. We run in the strength that God supplies that in everything God may get the glory through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 4:11). So look to Jesus, take heart, trust him, and run."
- First, he has given a foundation of our faith from start to finish. He pioneered by enduring the cross and despising the shame; and he perfected by sitting down triumphantly at the right hand of the throne of God (v. 2; cf. 2:10). Our redemption, the foundation of our faith, is complete.
- Second, he has given a perfect model for faith from start to finish. He trusted his Father from beginning to end in his earthly race.
- Third, he is the giver and sustainer of our faith from start to finish. Hebrews 13:21, "May God equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ." And "without faith it is impossible to please God" (11:6). So the God who began a good work in us is going to complete it—through Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.