Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:17-32
Let us lay aside every weight…
The practices of the ancient athletes, alluded to in Scripture, including training with a certain kind of heavy clothing or weights that would be taken off before the athlete actually participated in the event. Paul’s reference is to the runner setting forth on a course and laying aside the things that would hold him back and slow him down, things which would hinder his keeping pace and keep him from accomplishing the goal. This passage from Hebrews notes three things: Seeing (those that have gone before us), Setting aside (anything that would hinder us) and Staying (on the course set before us).
- Seeing (those that have gone before us) – The opening phrase is a direct reference to the chapter before, the great “gallery of faith” of Hebrews 11. It’s a great statement of people who have run and succeeded in pursuing the way the Lord had for their life. Almost everyone can go through the story of each one of the people mentioned in Hebrews 11 and see a portion of our own life because all of us face those same things.
- Setting aside (anything that would hinder us) – The Bible begins this 12th chapter by saying: When you look around and see those who have run this course before, and how God rewarded their faith with triumph, then, seeing that, don’t let anything drag you down or hold you back. Lay aside anything that would turn you aside. Lay aside the excess baggage that would keep you from running your best, and look into Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith”
- Staying (on the course of the race that is set before us) – We are not setting out an uncharted or uncertain course. It is simply unexperienced by us as yet. As we approach a new year, the Lord is calling us to a place of
- Beginning fresh with Him;
- Moving on in faith and certainty; and that
- There’s a way set before us
There are clear boundaries within which the Lord wants you to run. “Don’t violate the lane or you’ll disqualify yourself.” The Lord is the One who sets the course. While He calls us to a narrow way and says it’s a fruitful way if you’ll run it, it’s also a way that He’s gone before (v.2). “Author and finisher” literally is the One who founded our faith, and who accomplished its full provision. He’s saying we can follow Him; it’s safe with Him. We can step into the future confidently with Jesus because He has been here before (Revelation 1:8). That’s why He can say the things He does prophetically, and here He says, “If you’ll just run the race I’ve set before you, you can’t lose.”
If you are living with a sense of guilt from sins committed and would like to enter the New Year with a sense of being cleansed and free from that haunting sense of failure, the Lord wants you to know that as you come to Him, He will sever that bind to the past.
For those who have come to the Lord and know you have been forgiven, perhaps there is a lurking sense of condemnation. The Lord doesn’t want you to enter the New Year with fog in the sky of your souls. He wants you to step in with the confidence of a clean posture before Him.