During this season of Lent, I'm personally focusing on cultivating faithfulness. I've been studying Hebrews and camping out in Hebrews 11 and 12 a lot. Along with that, I'm also attempting to store God's Word in my heart to remind myself of the glory of growing in faith...a reminder I need when I become weary in the process.
This is a familiar passage to many readers, but I want to highlight one particular word: and.
Following Jesus and running this faith-race is not just 'gonna happen', just like I couldn't just strap on a pair of running shoes and enter the Boston Marathon and expect to win (or even finish!). We are prescribed a few specific means of running this race:
- Lay aside every weight
- Lay aside the sin which so easily ensnares us
- Run with endurance (don't give up)
- Look to Jesus, our leader and our power
In today's post I want to focus on the first point, understanding that it often gets grouped together with the second point, but there is an and between the two so there is a difference between them.
When my husband and I travel by air, we have to be mindful of the carry-on baggage we bring because those are the things we'll be toting around for long walks in airports. I can think I'm planning well and packing concisely, but it never fails that I end up completely encumbered by my weighty bags. My pretty Vera bag is perfect for storing all sorts of things that I need on the plane, and I don't want to check it because it might get damaged, so I insist on carrying it. But, the handle is awkward and it burrows into my shoulder, especially when I pack everything but the kitchen sink in it!
Is it a sin to do such a thing? Of course not. It may not be wise, but it's not a sin. Likewise, what are the weights that burden us in this faith-race? Think about that for a moment. I'll share my weights:
worry, hardships, concern over my kids, ministry issues, deadlines, fear...
These can be heavy things. Helping a friend work through sin issues is weighty. Praying diligently is hard work. Hardships are...hard. On my list worry and fear are sins. But, the others are not. In this faith-race I must be purposeful to lay aside the weights and the sin.
So, is the answer to ignore my hardships, my kids, and my responsibilities? Of course not. But, when these weighty matters burden me and my race of faith, then that's a red flag that I'm taking those issues into my own hands. That's the ding ding ding that warns me to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith, and to follow His lead as I persevere in this race. I may sound like a One-Tune Charlie, but depend on Jesus is the refrain we must live out day after day. He is our strength and our power.