Hebrews 12:1-4 says, “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. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
Last week we started out this series by focusing on the fact that we, as Christians, are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. We gain strength and confidence in knowing that there have been many faithful brethren that have gone before us in the faith, and their testimony encourages us to press on today. This week, we will continue to examine these Scriptures further. Let’s get into God’s Word.
The next point Paul makes, is that we should lay aside every weight and sin that hinders us from running our race in life. “Lay aside (Heb 12:1, 1Pt 2:1)” is also translated “Cast off (Rom 13:12)”, “Put off (Eph 4:22, Col 3:8)”, “Put away (Eph 4:25)”, and “Lay apart (Jam 1:21)”. This is something that is in our power to do - otherwise, God would be unjust in telling us to do it. Of course, the power to do it comes from Him; but through Him we can do “all things”. We do not have to carry weights. We can cast them on Jesus, and take his burden upon us, which is easy and light.
Paul often used the Olympic games to describe the Christian walk. He described life as a race to run, and a fight to fight. Runners want to rid themselves of every weight. That means excess body weight, restrictive or heavy clothing, and mental distractions. Otherwise, you will not win. These things would hinder you. As Christians, we must examine ourselves, and let the Holy Spirit reveal to us what things are weighting us down. All weights are not sin, for he differentiates between weights and sins. A weight may just be something that is keeping you back from running after Jesus at full speed. Is there something in your life that is hindering you from living for Jesus whole heartedly? Not so much a sin, but a distraction? Allow the Spirit of God to reveal these things, and then put them away. Let’s run to win.
Paul then addresses the sin that so easily surrounds us and entangles us. The carnal man naturally bends toward sin. This is why Paul tells us to mortify (put to death) the deeds of the flesh (Rom 8:13, Col 3:5). Paul himself put his body under, and brought it into subjection to the Spirit of God (1Cor 9:27). Some may feel powerless to do this, but that is a lie. Romans 6 explains clearly that the Christian is legally free from the bondage of sin, because we are under grace, and not under the law. Sin shall not have dominion (legally) over us. If sin is dominating you, it is because you allow it. Like Olympians, we must discipline ourselves, and not let our flesh have it’s way. We must exercise ourselves unto Godliness.
It is convenient to blame our failures on the world, the flesh, and the devil - but God’s Word says, “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world”. The fullness of God dwelt in Christ bodily (Col 2:9), and Christ now inhabits the bodies of His people (Col 1:27). We are the temple of The Holy Spirit. Refuse to take on a victim mentality. You are more than a conqueror. Look into the mirror of God’s Word, and see who you are in the spirit. See who you are through God’s eyes.
Our eyes must continually be on the cross. We must be “cross-eyed”. Life is a race, and we must run to win that race. We must never forget that there is a reward to be received. This life is short, but the crown we win will be worn forever. We must stay eternally minded. We must focus on the fact that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ someday. Will we receive a crown? Will we hear from our precious Savior, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”. Do you long to hear those words? Do run this race called life as one who wants the prize? Ask yourself these things. Do you live with purpose? Do you fight the good fight? Are you Heavenly minded? Read the following verses, and encourage yourself in The Lord (Ps 119:32-33, Lk 13:24, 1Cor 9:24-26, Gal 5:7, Philp 2:16, 3:13-14, 2Tim 4:7). Until next time, rejoice in The Lord!