Wherefore seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight.…
— Hebrews 12:1
What is it that keeps hindering you from living a life of obedience? Do you struggle with a particular sin, habit, attitude, or fear that keeps you from running your race of faith the way you ought? If so, you probably already know what it is, and I’d guess that you’ve already prayed, prayed, and prayed for victory in overcoming that problem because you really do want to please God.
Every now and then, we all tolerate things in our lives that make it difficult for us to please God. And when we know we’re not pleasing God, we typically aren’t happy with ourselves either. This is one reason that Hebrews 12:1 tells us to “…lay aside every weight….”
The words “lay aside” are taken from the Greek word apotithimi, a compound of the words apo and tithimi. As noted in the Sparkling Gem for January 6, the word apo means away and the word tithimi means to place or to lay something down. When these two words are compounded together, it gives a picture of someone who is laying something down while at the same time he is pushing it far away from himself. It means to lay something down and to push it far away and beyond reach. Thus, this word implies a deliberate decision to make a permanent change of attitude and behavior.
Removing wrong attitudes and actions from our lives will not occur accidentally. We must decide to change — to remove, to lay aside, and to put away attitudes and actions that don’t please God and adversely affect our walk of faith.
Hebrews 12:1 refers to these incorrect attitudes and actions as “weights.” The word “weight” is from the Greek word ogkos — a word that describes a burden or something so heavy and cumbersome that it impedes a runner from running his race as he should.
This word was particularly used in the athletic world to signify the actions of an athlete who would deliberately strip himself of excess weight before participating in a competition. This stripping process included the loss of excess flesh through dieting and exercise. Then on the day of the actual competition, he stripped off nearly all his clothes so no extra weight would slow him down. He had his eye on the prize, so he was determined to strip off all “weight” that might potentially keep him from being the best athlete he could be.
This sends a strong message to us! If we want to please God, satisfy ourselves, and do something significant with our lives, we have to choose to remove anything from our lives that would hinder those objectives.
The athlete of the ancient world didn’t become “unweighted” by accident. He dropped all excess weight on purpose. He dieted; he exercised; and he shed every other unnecessary weight he could find to shed. This stripping process demanded his attention, his decision, and his devotion. It wasn’t going to happen by accident, so he had to initiate the process of removal.
What if those athletes had tried to run their race with loads of extra weight? They certainly wouldn’t have been able to run very far! This is exactly what sinful habits and attitudes do to your walk with the Lord. If you don’t remove them, they will eventually weigh you down and knock you out of your race of faith!
The Holy Spirit is urging you and me to take a good look at our lives and then remove everything that weighs us down and keeps us from a life of obedience. We must be honest with ourselves and with God.
Do you have a habit or a wrong attitude that binds you? Are you plagued by a fear that weighs you down and keeps you from fulfilling your potential in Christ? Make a rock-solid, quality decision today to grab hold of those unnecessary burdens and remove, lay aside, and permanently put them away from your life.
Once you make that decision, you’ll find yourself running your race of faith with much more ease as you press on to victory!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I know that You’re on my side and that You want to help me. So today I’m asking You to help me lay aside the attitudes, negative thought patterns, and bad habits that keep pulling me back down into miserable defeat. I’m exhausted from trying to live for You while dragging along these old weights behind me at the same time. I need to drop them and leave them behind! So today I am asking You to help me make the big break. Help me make this the day I permanently drop all the unnecessary weights that hinder me and walk away from them forever!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I live a life of obedience! Sin, bad habits, negative attitudes, and fear have no influence in my life. Because I am free of these things, I am able to run my race of faith without any hindrances caused by my own actions. Because I want to please God, I do not tolerate things in my life that make it difficult for me to walk by faith or to please God. Absolutely nothing is more important to me than knowing God’s will and doing it in a way that brings pleasure to the Lord!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a “weight” that has been keeping you from running your race with grace and ease lately?
2. How can you strip yourself today of that “weight” so you can stay in the race to win God’s prize for your life?
3. Write down three ways you can please God, satisfy yourself, and do something significant in your life this week.