Lay It Aside
This Week's Scripture & Reflection: Hebrews 12:1
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 Summer Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countless individuals from around the world are anxiously looking forward to the return of the Olympics this year, particularly track & field athletes and fans! Regardless of whether you are a passionate enthusiast or an occasional onlooker, every viewer of track & field looks forward to the beginning of the race to hear the race official commence the famous three-command start that releases the runners from their starting positions.
What you may not always see, however, is the runners stripping down into their race uniforms, which are distinctively lighter and less cumbersome than their sweatsuits. In the 1st official Summer Olympic Games in 1896, various runners wore long and baggy shorts, large shirts with assorted sleeve lengths, and hefty shoes. Since then, numerous advances in science & technology have been made, enabling athletic apparel designers to create specially-designed race uniforms that have proven to be not only lighter and swifter, but also more effective in improving runners’ performances on the track.
Just as professional runners remove and lay aside all excess clothing before the start of the race, the Hebrew writer admonishes his audience of Jewish believers, as well as believers today, to do the same as it pertains to “every weight” in our lives and “the sin which so easily ensnares us”. Notice how the Hebrew writer distinguishes between the two: while sin is weighty and burdensome to the body, soul, and spirit, not every weight that needs to be laid aside is sinful.
Consider an ongoing relationship between two individuals that holds no purpose or a schedule filled with excessive commitments to various people and projects; these things wouldn’t necessarily be classified as sinful. Nevertheless, if they begin to consume excessive time and effort, these things can surely become unnecessary weights that can hinder progression. In order to effectively prepare yourself to both seize and steward divine opportunities well, you must first assess whether the weights you are carrying are truly indispensable. If they are not, lay them aside so that you can make room for the divine opportunities that God has ordained. Lay aside the sin that threatens to steer you off the path of righteousness so that you may run the race set before you with endurance, concentration, and expectation!