The writer of Hebrew speaks of the life of a Christian as a race.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12:1 – 2).
He has just spoken of individuals who had been faithful to God despite the things that tried to prevent them from being faithful. Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Moses and others who were faithful servants of God put aside the things that stood in their way.
It is a challenge today for those who seek to follow God to be able to “lay aside every weight.” Life many times gets in the way.
The things of life include jobs — while man is to work, some let jobs become their life and leave everything else out of their life. If a job keeps us from following God of what benefit will is it?
Jesus said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
So many work to accumulate riches and leave God and even their families out of the picture. Instead of success, they fail in their goal of having the good life for their family because they lose their family and if they do not come to their senses they will lose their souls.
Another way life can get in the way is something that most never think about being a problem — the family. Family is something God has always put in high esteem. As we said, some try to provide so much luxury for their family that they forget God altogether.
Each person who seeks to please God should think about how the actions they take now with their family (putting things before serving God) will affect generations to come. If one generation fails to follow God, it may be several generations until the family realizes they need God in their life. Some let the family become their entire life, using every moment of time with doing things with the family, putting the wants and wishes of family members before taking time for God.
Still, others let their recreation get in the way of following God. To be pleasing to God a person must take time to study God’s word, to obey it and then to live it. That takes time, energy and money the same things that recreation takes.
It seems the thought process on this goes this way: “I spend every day working to provide for my family. Nights and many Saturday’s are taken up with things for the kids, so Sunday belongs to me.”
Recreation in itself is not wrong, as long as it is not a sinful activity. It is when we put recreation before following God that a problem exists. God has blessed mankind with a wonderful and beautiful world that should be enjoyed, but with the understanding that God is behind all this beauty.
How can we lay aside these weights? It can be done by keeping God in the forefront at all times. If God is where he needs to be, our job will not become our god. We will be the best workers an employer can have, but they will know that God comes first in our lives. We will be the best parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., but our lives will show God as the center of all we do.
To be successful in the race, we must look to Jesus, the “author and finisher of our faith.” This is done by obeying the Gospel of Christ and living for God day by day. Next week we will talk about “looking to Jesus.”