Sunday, August 7, 2016

Laying Aside the Weights

Written by Ken and Me
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. {Hebrews 12:1}.

The Olympics are here and a reminder that we who are believers in Jesus are athletes for the Christian faith. We are called to “run with endurance the race” of faith that we might get to the end of our lives and not find ourselves disqualified. No, we don’t take steroids and cheat like the many athletes who were disqualified this year, but far too many Christians are running for last place in the Kingdom of God instead of running to win the race that is set before them.

Imagine a top runner in the Olympics and she knows she can outrun the rest of the competitors, so she stops along the way to get a coffee, and then watch a movie, then pick up a twenty pound sack of gold coins and carry them with her to the finish line. She did not come in last, but she came in the middle of the pack, with her talents squandered because she wanted her coffee, movie and gold. What would all of the spectators say about her, and far more what would her own competitors think? This woman could have won it all, but she wanted her pleasures and her security over winning the race.

How about you? How is your race of faith coming along?  Do you have time to train each day by being in God’s Word and praying daily, or have the pleasures and cares of this world choked out your faith training time so you have so little? Do you expect to win on shear talent alone, or expect that no matter how much you wander off of the race of faith to seek fun and sins that Jesus will get you to the finish line all by Himself?

If you are in Christ you are a new creature fit for the race of faith and ready to love and serve and please your Lord Jesus over all of the pleasures and weights of this world. You are the perfect specimen of righteousness and hope in Christ Jesus to go and win souls for the Kingdom and to shine the light of Jesus everywhere you go. Is your light hid under a bushel or does it shine brightly? Do you talk to others about your faith regularly, speaking and singing words that bless others as if you running for King Jesus?  

As strangers and pilgrims on this earth we are waiting for a city whose builder and maker is God. This city is going to be a better country where God will be ruler over all {Hebrews 11:10-16}. This is not our home, so we are commanded to not "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season"(Hebrews 11:25) but instead to "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" (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

What are the weights we are called to lay aside? They are anything that hinder our race of faith and take our eyes off of our perfect Savior. The weights of the things of this world can be the Internet, television, smart phones, hobbies, the desire to accumulate wealth, too much value in sports or in our children, or anything that distracts us from spending any time in the Word and prayer. If we don't have time to be a godly help meet to our husband, a wonderful mother to our children, or fulfill our God given responsibility as an older woman training the younger women, then we are carrying unnecessary pleasures and weights that are keeping us from our race of faith. Satan and this world want nothing more than to keep us away from God's calling on our lives. We must be vigilant to train for the race of faith, and deliver winning times when it comes to serving our Master.

Christian, the idea we can believe in Jesus and keep sinning is foreign to the Bible. We must do what He commands us to do. And what has He commanded for us? "That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another" {1 John 3:23}.

Look now at your life and find those weights of lack of time, energy, focus or pride that weigh you down and keep you from loving your husband, your children, and others the way we are called to love them. We must not only hate what is evil, but put aside every encumbrance to our faith. "Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God but he that doeth evil hath not seen God" (3 John 11). We cannot say we love God if we don't love others and we are not doing good.

If you know others who say they believe but continue in sin, pray for their souls and that they will repent and get back into the race of faith. For a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree, bad fruit. And as Jesus says, “We shall know them by their fruit.” Be bearers of good fruit daily as you place your life into the hands of a loving and just God. He will make your way clear to run so as to win, but He expects you and me to be doing the running, and running well. He will not carry us all the way, if He has given us all we need for life and godliness. He wants us to grow up and be great runners for the gospel of Christ. Will you run with me and tell the pleasures and weights of this world to take their proper back seat to the things of God?