Two weeks ago I published a blog post entitled “Run Your Race Well,” where I examined Hebrews 12: 1-3. If you haven’t read that one yet, feel free to click the link above and check it out before continuing with this blog.
Today I would like to do a continuation of the last blog post. We will go a little deeper into the idea of losing the weight that we carry.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “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.“
The Lord has called both you and me to run in a race that He has marked out for us. This race is not a sprint, but rather a challenging, and sometimes grueling marathon that demands endurance to make it to the finish line. It requires that we strip off certain things so we can run effectively and finish well.
Two Things We Need To Lay To The Side
This verse instructs us of two things that we are to lay down in our race. We are to lay aside weight and sin. Most of us are aware of the sins that we struggle with daily. What we may not be aware of is the weight that we carry around. As stated in the previous blog, weight may not be considered sin, but it affects our spiritual progress nonetheless. Although weights may not necessarily be sin, they can be a doorway that leads us to sin. We don’t want it to get to that point, so it is our responsibility to lose the weight before it goes any farther.
Running a long-distance race is already hard enough by itself, but try to imagine running with added weight on. It would make it ten times harder to endure to the finish line with unnecessary weight strapped to your back. A professional runner does not do this, but he would instead run as light as possible. We are to do this in our spiritual race as well.
Instead of running as light as possible, I believe many Christians may have on heavy weights that hinder their progress. You may not even be aware that you have weights on, but you may very well be mindful of the effects it has on you. You may look to the right and see your sister running at a faster pace than you. Or you may wonder why you get out of breath so quickly, running through rough terrain. The reason for this could very well be the weight you are unaware you are carrying.
The list of weights that we can carry is a never-ending one. You name it, and it can be a weight if it hinders our progress. For today, I believe the Lord has laid on my heart three weights to consider laying aside. Those weights include the weight of acceptance and approval, the weight of your past, and the weight of fear.
The Weight of Acceptance and Approval
The first weight I would like us to consider is the weight of acceptance and approval. Every human wants to know they are accepted and desire the approval of others. Another word for this is validation. The enemy will lay this heavy weight on the shoulders of those who have struggled with rejection. When you feel the sting of rejection, you will strive hard to find acceptance from just about anything willing to give it to you. People seek acceptance in friends, spouses, work success, fame, or accomplishments. You run to all these things, and they become the barometer of your worth. This weight will also cause you to perform to receive acceptance and approval from people. It will even cause you to have the mindset that you have to do something of value to be a person of value. All the while, you are unaware that you already have all that you are striving to attain in Jesus. He already accepted you and put his stamp of approval on you when He deemed you worthy enough to die for.
Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus didn’t wait for us to accomplish anything or get particular accolades for him to deem us worthy. While we were dead in our sin, Jesus determined our worthiness. The love he expressed for you and me is a love of acceptance and approval. We don’t have to look to anything outside of Jesus for validation. We can take this heavy weight off our shoulders and accept the work of the cross. Jesus accepts you. The Father accepts you because of what His Son did. The Holy Spirit accepts you because he deems you worthy enough to dwell inside of you. Let us lose this deceptive weight. We can rest in knowing we are already accepted, approved of, and loved by the Father.
The Weight of Your Past
The next weight I would like to discuss is the weight of your past. This particular weight tries to distract you and disqualify you from your future in Christ. The person who carries this weight has a hard time receiving the full benefits of forgiveness. When you carry this weight, you may have a tendency not to forgive yourself or accept that Jesus forgave all of your sins. The enemy haunts you with your past. He will flash memory after memory on the reel of your imagination. He will tell you that this act you committed disqualifies you from running hard after the Lord. Yes, you may have committed horrific acts, but those acts are not more powerful than the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus purchased forgiveness for every sin you have ever committed.
There is a lyric to a song that testifies to this, and I love it. It says, “there’s nothing too dirty that you can’t make worthy.” NO part of your past that is too dirty for the Lord to clean. The blood of our Lord ran red to make us white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). Don’t allow the weight of your past to determine your eligibility to run in the race. Jesus marks out your path, and He says your slate has been wiped clean by the powerful blood that He shed for you. 1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Accept this truth. Forgive yourself and lose the painful weight of your past.
The Weight of Fear
The last weight I would like to discuss is the weight of fear. This particular weight is probably familiar to most. This weight has zero desire to leave any runner in the race of faith. We have to be aggressive in throwing this weight off because of its debilitating abilities. The weight of fear can paralyze us. It will wrap itself around our minds, throats, hearts, hands, and even our feet. Carrying fear will weigh you down so much that it will stop you dead in your tracks. When fear coils itself around your feet, its goal is to cause paralysis. It comes to hinder your progress and guarantee that you don’t go any farther in your race. If the Lord calls you to unfamiliar terrain, the weight of fear will slow you down and attempt to keep you from going down that course.
Do you see how this weight may not be a sin, but it can lead you to the sin of disobedience if the right situation arises? The Lord is calling us to vigorously lay aside this weight to run our full potential. The Lord declares in His word that He did not “give us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) We can trust in what He has given us. Let us allow his loving hand to guide us through the unfamiliar and even seemingly dangerous legs of our race. Let’s lose this unnecessary weight and run as light as we can before the Lord.
Practical Ways to Lose Weight
- Pray for Revelation: Ask the Lord to give you revelation on if you have been carrying any of these weights. We don’t know what we don’t know. The Holy Spirit has to reveal certain things to us that we are not aware of. If we ask Him to show us distractions that are difficult to identify, He will do just that.
- Confess and Repent: Confess and repent for carrying anything that could have the potential to cause you to sin against the Lord.
- Surrender: You have to surrender every weight the Lord reveals to you. We have to take responsibility and give them over to the Lord in prayer. Often we wait for the Lord to do it for us. Hebrews 12:1 suggest otherwise by instructing US to lay aside every weight and sin. It takes action on our part, so surrender it over in prayer.
- Seek And Apply Truth: Get truth that will help you not pick up the weight again. Temptation will arise and give you opportunities to carry the very thing you laid aside. Committing to memory a particular bible verse in that area will help you know the truth and not settle for a lie.
Let us lose the extra weight we have carried for so long. Like Olympic runners, we want to be as light as possible. When we run lightly, we can run at our fastest pace. We have to know that the Lord does not want us to carry around weight or burdens that we were never meant to carry.
Jesus beckons us by saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) The only weight or burden we should carry is that of Christ. It is light enough for us to run with.
Lose the unnecessary weight, and let us run to win the prize!
- Were you able to identify with any of the weights discussed today? Were you aware that you were carrying this weight, or did you only notice the effects of it?
- If we are aware of certain things weighing us down, why do you think we allow them to stay? How can we begin to take action instead of settling for being apathetic?