Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. ~ Hebrews 12:1-4; NLT
Take a moment and meditate on this passage. Think about what God is asking you to do. Think about what Jesus went through so you could have new life. Think about the weights that have you weighed down. There is a lot to ponder so take your time.
There are several different ways I could direct your thoughts today, but the direction I want to take you in is to consider the things that are slowing you down.
First, think about what the inspired author meant when he wrote; let us strip of every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. Remember, it is not just sin that keeps us from enjoying the full life God has prepared for us. There are other weights we are hanging on to, besides sin, that are slowing us down.
What are these other weights? I believe a big one is the weight of consumerism. We are never satisfied with what we have, we allows want more and more. Much of the money we make over the course of our lives go towards things we want. We have the money to take care of our needs, and so from our abundance we buy what we want. Possessions aren't necessarily bad, until they get in the way of us following Jesus.
I think another weight is that of entertainment. We are an entertained people. Movies, music, books, and television are all evidence that we like to be distracted from the realities of our lives. This is not bad. There are times when we need forget about all that is happening around us and simply enjoy ourselves. Entertainment is not wrong until it keeps us for looking toward Jesus.
Perhaps you can think of other "weights" that are weighing you down. I am sure there are more than just the two I mentioned. Whatever is holding us back, whether it is sin or another type of weight, we need confess to God our weakness and/or sin, and then work to change our lives. Please keep in mind that it doesn’t matter how “good” something appears to be, if it keeps us from following Jesus then it has no place in our lives. If we are unwilling to let go of those things which slow us down then we will never be satisfied with our relationship with God. It will always seem empty, to be more of a religion than a relationship. The relationship can only happen when we get rid of what is holding us back, and follow after Jesus as fast as we can.
1. How would you characterize your relationship with God?
2. What are some of the things that are holding you back as you follow Jesus?
3. How can you begin to remove these "weights" from your life?
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