Article by Michael Goforth II:
My go-to outfit during the winter is a big pair of knee length rubber snow boots and a massive hooded coat. It’s not in style yet, but I keep telling people I’m just ahead of the trend.
While this outfit is nice for keeping me warm, I would never choose it for running a marathon. That would be ridiculous. Any semi-intelligent runner knows that it’s essential to eliminate any excess weight before competing.
In Hebrews 12 the writer compares the Christian life to a race. After listing a bunch of Old Testament heroes in chapter 11, he says this,
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2
These verses make it pretty clear that the Christian life is not aimless wandering. It’s a race with a very clear purpose and a very clear goal. And while there is so much we could say about these amazing verses, we can summarize them with two basic principles: eliminate and concentrate.
Here we’ll tackle the first principle: eliminate.
Just like it would be foolish for me to try to run a marathon in rubber snow boots and a winter coat, it would be just as foolish to try to run the race of faith with extra weight.
That’s the writer’s point when he says, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us…”
I’m convinced that one of the biggest problems with American Christianity is all of the excess clutter in our lives. We’re amusing ourselves to death with sitcoms, smart phones, and social media without realizing the eternal ramifications of our actions.
John Piper said it this way, “One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
So many Christians are allowing unnecessary weights to slow them down in the race. And we haven’t even talked about the, “sin which doth so easily beset us…”
Sin is no longer treated as a serious offense against a thrice holy God. Instead, it is swept under the rug with statements like, “well, nobody is perfect.”
True, nobody is perfect...but God still calls us and enables us to live holy lives.
I’m not trying to guilt trip you. Guilt and fear will cause temporary results, but they can never cause heart level change. What I’m trying to do is sound an alarm. To wake us up to the fact that we’re still in a race.
Jesus is at the finish line, and one day we’re going to join Him. In that moment, you’re not going to regret deleting your candy crush app, or cancelling your cable subscription.
And you’re certainly not going to regret saying no to the pitiful pleasures of sin that this world tries to wave in your face.
Jesus has purchased us with His precious blood. He has called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. With His amazing grace in mind, let’s show forth his praises to the dark world around us!
I don’t know what you personally have to eliminate. And by the way, I’m not saying candy crush is a sin. (Although you can stop inviting me to play)
I’m just trying to get you to consider the weight and sin in your life that might be keeping you from the race God has for you.
In the power of the Holy Spirit, what weight in your life do you need to eliminate? What sinful attitudes and actions are keeping your eyes off Christ?
If we’re going to run well, the first step is to eliminate the weight.
This is first in a two part article. To see the second, click here.