Hindered by Weights

“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” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

In keeping with our theme of commitment, many slow down due to “weights” they carry around. In the ancient games, athletes strengthened their muscles by creating resistance during training. Many do the same today. They strap weights around their ankles, and then strengthen their leg muscles by running with these weights. But what would we think if they kept these weights on during the actual contest? We would think they were mighty foolish.

The sort of “weights” referred to in verse 1 will not help us at all. God placed us in the race at salvation; we’re not just training. These weights could be anything that slows us down. Of course, sin would be chief among them. The writer tells us to “lay aside” that sin which clings so closely to us. In our previous life, we not only carried these weights, we cherished them. But now that God placed us in a spiritual race, we need to discard all weights and all sin that easily entangles us.

Jesus had a great remedy for this: When we discard the old weights, take on His yoke, something He describes as “easy” and “light”:

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Of course, Jesus never described our life as easy.  In fact, He said that we would face tribulation (John 16:33). The “easy” and “light” yoke He referred to described the burden of sin He lifted from us. That’s our greatest weight. So in Hebrews, we’re told to lay that sin aside because it’s too heavy for our souls. We cannot run the race well with that sort of yoke slowing us down.

Prayer

“Lord, be pleased to strengthen our walk with You, and our devotion. Give us both wisdom and strength to lay aside those sinful weights that slow us down. Increase our faith to trust Your great and wonderful promises, and may we praise You for the marvelous things You have done. In Jesus’ dear Amen.”

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