Fix your eyes on Jesus and the finish line by reading Hebrews 12:1-3 every day for ten days.
Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance. —Hebrews 12:1
A one-inch barnacle. That’s all it took to sink Uku Randmaa’s racing hopes.
A one-inch barnacle clinging to a boat may seem no match for a thirty-six-foot yacht, but when Randmaa competed in a race around the world, barnacles proved to be like blisters on the feet of a marathoner. These tiny shrimp-like creatures latched onto his hull, built their one-inch cement-like fortresses, and then multiplied like sea rabbits. They didn’t sink his vessel, but they slowed it and capsized his chance of winning the race.
After 333 days of sailing—and dragging a thick layer of ever-increasing barnacles—Randmaa crossed the finish line thirty-eight days behind the winner, Jean-Luc van den Heede. Thirty-eight days. Not hours.
Van den Heede had coated his hull with several layers of barnacle protectant. Randmaa thought one coat would suffice. Christians make a similar mistake if we think a quick coating of prayer and Bible study will keep sin at bay. Sin eats through thin coats of truth, plasters our hearts with its fortress of lies, and then multiplies like barnacles.
Like one tiny barnacle latching onto a large vessel, a casual smile to a male friend can lead to an innocent commiserating over trials. Then perhaps a comforting touch leads to a text of encouragement. Before long, the sin of adultery has latched onto the heart of the most faithful wife, and she wonders how she got there.
Even in the most dedicated Christian, the smallest sin can encrust an unprotected heart and dull it to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Sin drags us down as it multiplies until we either deal with it or it destroys us.
Don’t let it.
Don’t dare let it.
Sin may be sneaky, strong, and dangerous, but we’re not helpless. Soak in the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit. Strap on the armor of God and stand firm (Eph. 6:10–18). Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Rom. 13:14). And do not fear. Whatever God calls us to do in our hearts and minds, He empowers us to do by His Spirit.
Look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, and lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and race free. Your reward awaits you.
Father, thank You for Your Holy Spirit’s power at work in me. Search me, O God, and show me what’s truly in my heart. Reveal any sins clinging in secret places. And make my way pleasing to You. Amen.
Reflect and Respond
- Make a list of any sins clinging to your heart (Gal. 5:7, 16–24).
- Confess your sins before the Lord and to your racing partner. Pray for each other and hold each other accountable to flee every temptation (James 5:16; 1 Cor. 10:13).