Yesterday we asked what shall we do with the awesome information and testimony of faith discussed in Hebrews 11? The proper response of a Christian, given all of the “witnesses” to godly faith, and their success despite their hardships, and in light of God’s loving patience, is to purposefully shed our sins and selfishness and “hold fast” as we strive to fulfill the plans God has in store for us.
All we know of God’s former work should inspire us to complete, dedicated devotion to His will. “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1).
This morning this particular verse reminded me of what James taught us: “But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22) We are to apply God’s Word to our lives, not only hear about it and say amen. “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:25) This is not works-based faith, but it is submitting our lives and our will to the Lord’s will.
It is the Lord’s will for us to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us”, and the reason is so that we will no longer be slaves to sin that easily enslaves us. “Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin’.” (John 8:34)
If we look at a list found in Paul’s letter to the church of Galatia, we may easily find one or two that easily entangles us that we must lay aside, including keeping company with those who tempt us in these areas: “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21)
If you prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to show you the weight and sins you need to let go of, He is faithful to show us so that we can “run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:1b-2a).