In Hebrews 12, living the Christian life is likened to running a race: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, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith...It is interesting to see that the writer does not say whether the [weights] to be thrown off are good or bad. They could have been very good things or activities that they were now being called upon to give up [...] the principle that is being explained in these verses is this: if at any time or in any circumstance the thing or activity gets in the way of growing like Christ, it is at that time or in that circumstance to be discarded.
When I travel overseas, I have never yet found a way to cut down on my luggage [...] I carry away and bring home clothes that I have never even put on. Generally, the overcoat I wear is stuffed with hankies and underwear to disguise the true weight of my carry-on luggage!
Our writer is saying something like this: "You cannot run in a race if you wear your overcoat and especially if the pockets are full. You might make it in a short dash, but the Christian life is a marathon."
He is calling on us to be rigorous in self-examination, and to understand that growing Christlike is so important that we should not let anything hinder it. It is possible to be hindered by some thing, which, even though it is not sinful within itself, nevertheless gets in the way of holiness. [....]
There is nothing wrong with spending a weekend at the snow. However, if it means leaving your Sunday School class without a teacher on Sunday, then you don't have to be a genius to know whether the good (going to the snow) has robbed you of the best (teaching your Sunday School class). Now it is possible to be sufficiently far-sighted to see that if you take on the task of teaching Sunday School you will never be able to have a weekend at the snow. To choose not to do Sunday School teaching for this reason is to stuff the overcoat with everything you own.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
throwing off that which hinders