Thursday, October 13, 2005

Oct. 13, 2005

"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" Hebrews 12:1

Have you ever felt like you just can't make it? Have you felt like your entire world was collapsing in on top of you? If you haven't, hang on, and you will. That was what these Hebrew Christians felt like. They were under heavy persecution for their faith in Jesus Christ, and lived in constant fear of prison, torture, and even death. When the writer mentioned the "weight" that was holding them back, this was what he was talking about.

As they were dealing with these fears and worries daily, they were starting to consider turning from Christ, and going back to Judaism. Tell, me, have you ever heard, or even said yourself, "life just seemed easier before salvation"? I'll be honest, I have. Not only were these folks saying that, they were seriously thinking about renouncing the faith that they held so precious. These fears were a major encumbrance to them, and it was causing some to turn from the path of uprightness.

Let's fast forward to our day. I tell you, we can worry with the best of them. In much of the world today, many are still being killed for their faith in Christ. Here in America, we aren't facing that. Sure, we may take a ribbing from our co-workers, family and friends for our faith, but dying for Christ isn't really happening here. Yet fears still abound. You name, we experience it. Rising fuel costs, medical expenses going up, and job cuts only add to our stress. Worries of family neglect while trying to make ends meet keep us up at night. Wondering how the already late mortgage and car payments will be made weigh us down. And for you precious pastors, add the pressures of the church on top of it all.

I love the illustration the writer uses. A runner in a race. That is what our walk with Christ is. Let me ask you, how many times have you ever seen a runner go the starting block in heavy sweat clothes, and work boots? My guess is never. No, they wear the lightest clothing they can. They put on the lightest running shoes possible. They don't want anything to hinder them as they race for the finish line. Yet, just like those Hebrews Christians, our fears and worries hold us back. Not only that, we are turning away from the path of righteousness, because we're just too bogged down.

My friend, let me encourage you today. The scripture tells us to cast our burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain us (Ps. 55:22). Peter echoes this as well: "casting all of your cares upon Him; for He careth for you" (1 Pet. 5:7). Our Lord does not want us to go around constantly in fear. It sounds like a cliche, but give your burdens to Him. Let His peace guard your heart and mind. God has promised us that He will see this work that He has begun through to its completion. And He will supply for our every need in Christ. Look up, my friend, and focus your affection and attention on Jesus. Press on in this race toward the finish line! God bless.

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