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. . . .
— Hebrews 12:1
What is slowing you down in your pursuit of a relationship with the Lord? Laziness? Procrastination? It could even be a few extra pounds (surely not after Christmas). In order for us to move forward in Christ, we have to remove things that hold us back. Hebrews 12:1 says to “strip off every weight that slows us down.” The writer is speaking about pursuing a life of faith that pleases Christ.
So think about it. What is weighing you down?
While I was in college, I befriended several friends from Sweden who were on the swimming team. One of them was really good and I asked him one day what made him so fast. Naturally, he told me it was lots of practice, eating right, and exercise. But then he told me something I thought was weird. He said, “and shaving.” I laughed at what I thought was a joke, but he didn’t laugh with me. He was serious! He said hair on his legs, arms, and chest could slow him down in the water. Talk about sacrifice! He was willing to get rid of whatever made him slower, even something as small as hair. While that may be a strange illustration, it helps bring to light that whatever is hindering us from becoming like Christ must be eliminated – however small or insignificant it may seem.
I think that some of us could benefit from investigating our lives for hindrances to our Faith. There is a lot more junk in our lives than we may realize. If you don't believe me, then try moving from one house to another. Isn't it amazing how much junk you have collected? Just before my family moved, I helped another family move across town. After unloading them, I thought, “I’m sure glad I don’t have as much stuff as they do.” Wow, was I wrong. It’s amazing how much junk we have when we do an inventory. While it is stuffed away in a closet or an attic it is never noticed. The same is true in our lives. We take on things we don't need. Periodically, we needed to clean out this excess weight and let it go.When the race of life gets difficult, we like to blame circumstances, other people, or sometimes even God. But we need to remember that if we stumble or fall, it is our own fault. The Bible says that Jesus' "divine power gives us everything we need for living a godly life" (2 Peter 1:3).The Bible also tells us to lay aside the weight and the sin that hinders our progress (Hebrews 12:1). Notice the distinction: we are not just to lay aside the sin; we also are to lay aside the weight.In fact, I would suggest periodically asking yourself this question about the uncertain areas of your life: Is it a wing or is it a weight? In other words, does it speed you on your way in this race you are running? Or, is it a weight—something that slows you down?