Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taking it all off

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith..." (Heb 12:1,2)

Have you ever tried to run in heels?

Especially if you've been wearing them all day, they have been chafing and pinching like crazy, and the last thing you want to do is even get up?  

OW.  Just - OW.

Today I wore some attractive new sandals to work, and by the end of the day, what with walking to the other end of the building several times to pick up print jobs, deliver files or talk to specific people about the work I needed them to do, my "dogs were barking" by the time I trudged to the elevator.  Every step was an effort.

I saw our vehicle just outside the door; my husband had come to pick me up.  So without thinking, I broke into a slow jog.

Bad move.  Those "dogs" started to ki-yi!! 

I got this photo here
My feet were constricted in certain spots (normal when breaking in a new pair of footwear) and of course the heels propped my feet up into an unnatural position.  Anyway, there were a couple of places to go before I got home, but you can bet that when I walked into the house, it looked more like hobbling than walking - and almost the first thing I did was remove those sandals.  The feeling of my bare feet on that bare, cool floor was so soothing that I couldn't prevent a gasp from escaping my lips.  

So afterward, I was thinking (as I usually do when I make the mistake of wearing heels for any length of time) how these things only weigh me down and hold me back from doing things that - by wearing comfortable footwear - I could do with no problem.  It reminded me of the verse I quoted (above).  The author of Hebrews was talking about the Christian life as a track and field event.  In the ancient world, athletes would train for a marathon or the decathlon for weeks with weights attached to their feet and wrists (like some do now).  Then, when the day of the race came, they would take the weights off and be that much swifter, stronger, better.  (Well, they took EVERYTHING off to compete but let's not go with that mental picture - oops, too late!)  

They laid aside EVERY weight. Hebrews 12 says, "Let us lay aside every weight AND the sin which so easily besets us..."  So I'm thinking, "Wait a sec. I thought the weight WAS the sin - you mean it's NOT?"

Wow.  This opens up a whole new realm.  There are things which are not sins but which weigh us down - weigh our HEARTS down (and this can wear our BODIES down, eventually!) They could be things like:
  •  the tyranny of the urgent.  This is that obsession with doing just this one thing (whatever that may be) before I have time for God.  In today's busy world, it's really hard to set that time aside to just focus on Him. .
  • the routines that take over.  These are things that can wait, things that aren't going to go anywhere if they're left undone for fifteen minutes or a half-hour or two hours. They aren't bad in themselves. Yet we are so bound by them being done at a certain time or in a certain order that the routine rules us. We aren't free.
  • the trap of 'everybody else but me'. So-and-so's needs come first, we think. We delude ourselves into thinking that we're making sacrifices and that we're good people for doing it.  But what we're really doing is sacrificing something that is far more valuable - intimacy with God, and making sure our own cup is full.
I'm sure there are more. And I'm sure that if we ask God to show us how we've still got those weights on our hearts - and then ask Him to help us lay them aside - He'll do that.

Because - the author of Hebrews is clear - it takes a deliberate setting aside of those things that weigh us down and hold us back, so that we can live this lifestyle of constant contact with God, living and walking in the Spirit, and the only way we can do that is by ... looking unto Jesus.  

He started it; He'll finish it.  
We just get to participate.

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