Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us.
A few years ago, I read that United Airlines was looking for ways to reduce the weight of their aircraft so that they could use less fuel and save money. And they found that by changing the kind of paper they were using for their in-flight magazine, they could reduce the weight of each magazine by one ounce. Why would anybody go to that trouble for one ounce? Well, if you add up all the magazines and seatback pamphlets on every airplane, using lighter paper would save the airline $290,000 a year in fuel costs.
If we are going to win in the Christian life, we have to have that same kind of determination to lay aside anything that weighs us down in our relationship with God. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance.” Like a marathon runner, we have to travel as light as possible.
What does it mean to “lay aside every encumbrance”? A friend of mine had a practice of drinking coffee with some longtime friends every morning. A few years ago, he had renewed his commitment to God, and he said, “Pastor, I can’t do that any longer. It’s not that we pass around pornographic magazines or anything like that, but there is nothing motivating about the conversation to me. So I’m going to give that up.”
For you, laying aside an encumbrance might be laying aside a friendship or a hobby that is not wrong, but it keeps you from giving your all to your relationship with God. Or maybe it is television or social media–there is nothing wrong with those things, but maybe they are keeping you from spending time with God. Ask yourself, “Is this helping me or hindering me in my relationship with God?” There may be things that are perfectly “legal” according to the Bible but are weighing you down spiritually. Those are the encumbrances you need to lay aside.
Then the writer added, “And the sin which so easily entangles us.” I imagine right now you can think of one thing in your life–a relationship, an attitude, a habit–that you know is displeasing to God. Are you ready to lay it aside? Remember, if you are a Christian, the same power that raised Jesus Christ out of the grave lives in you through the Holy Spirit. You have the power to lay aside that sin that is tripping you up in your relationship with God. If we are going to develop endurance, we have to remove both sin and encumbrances.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Spiritual Aerobics” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.
Hugo Martín, “United Airlines Saves 170,000 Gallons of Fuel by Using Lighter Paper on Inflight Magazine,” Los Angeles Times, January 20, 2018, https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-travel-briefcase-united-inflight-magazine-20180120-story.html.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org