Laying Aside Every Weight

Hebrews 12:1 ESV

“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.”

What are weights? They can be sinful addictions or they can be things that people hold on to that may lead them to continue in addictive sin. They are also things which can pull us away from Christ and from our pure devotion to him, such as distractions, wasted time, and things that don’t matter for eternity which fill up our time and which keep us from doing the will of God. We need to lay aside everything that hinders our walks of faith in Christ.

Definitely, if you are still holding on to any sin or to the possibility of any sin repeating itself it needs to be cut out of your life. For laying it aside does not mean just putting it off to the side for a while only to pick it back up again. We must die to sin and live to God and to his righteousness. Sin should no longer be what we practice. It should no longer have mastery over our lives. But Jesus should now be our Lord and Master and we should serve him.

Many people get engaged in addictive sin to fill some void they feel is in their lives. They are lonely and/or hurting and so they look for their happiness in something sinful rather than in God. For they want to escape the pain they are feeling and so they will have extra-marital affairs, or they will look at pornography, or they will watch movies and listen to stories as a way to escape rather than to deal with their situations at hand.

Many married couples are just two separate people sharing the same space but they are not connected spiritually, emotionally, mentally and in heart. They may or may not be cordial with one another, but they are not connected. One or both of them are living in sin, doing their own thing, and/or are not working on the marriage and so they co-exist together but they do not have a marriage like it should be.

And rather than do what needs to be done to restore the marriage and to bring life to it (or back to it) one or the other or both looks somewhere else to have his/her needs (or just wants) satisfied. And this happens often which is why we have such a high incidence of divorce here in America. People find it easier to flee the marriage, either just mentally and emotionally or including a physical separation, rather than heal it. And this should not be.

For, if we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ we should be daily dying to sin and to self and living to God and to his righteousness. We should be putting on the armor of God daily to fight off the evil schemes of the wicked one. And we should be giving the devil no opportunity at all in our lives and in our marriages. But we should be loving one another as God loves us, and we should be laying down our lives to see others walk in purity of life.

And we should be running with endurance the race God has set before us to run which includes daily dying to sin and to self and walking in obedience to our Lord and to his commands. And we should be laying aside (putting to death) all hindrances to our walks of faith and all hindrances to the purity of our marriage relationships, too. And we should be doing the will of God and not running away and escaping into a fantasy world to escape reality.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]

Hebrews 12:2-3 ESV

“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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

And this is the key!! We have to be looking to Jesus, and not just giving him a cursory nod or just spend 5 or 10 minutes a day having devotions, but we should be looking to Jesus 24 hours a day 7 days a week when we are not sleeping, but he should even be in our thoughts when we are sleeping. He should be our guide for how we live our lives and how we conduct ourselves in a marriage or in other relationships and in all that we do.

And regarding our faith, we can’t create it ourselves. Jesus is the author (founder) and perfecter of our faith which comes from God and which is gifted to us by God and which is not of our own doing. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and as to our sinfulness and as to our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways.

[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1]

Jesus is our example that we are to follow. He endured unjust suffering and persecution and false accusations and even being put to death as though he was a common criminal when he had done no wrong so that we could be delivered from our slavery (addiction) to sin and so we could now walk in holiness and righteousness and in purity of devotion to our Lord. And we should do the same in order to see others be free from their sins.

For, when we are following Jesus Christ with our lives, and when we are running the race he has set before us, and when we have cast aside all sinful practices and hindrances to our walks of faith, and when we are speaking the truth in love to people, and when we are sharing with them the gospel, we are going to be treated just like Jesus was treated, and one day we may, as well, be put to death by those who hate us and who want us gone.

But we are not to grow weary or fainthearted when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and when people do sin against us deliberately and even habitually, and when they are hostile towards us because we are teaching the truth and because we are not compromising with the world and with the culture and with the ungodly. But we, for the joy set before us, i.e. the salvation of human lives, must persevere even if it means our deaths.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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