For it is by grace you have been saved...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Laying Aside Every Weight

“...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)

Weight has been on my mind a lot lately.  With my 50th birthday looming in February of next year, I realized that it was time to do something about my seriously overweight problem.  With 40 weeks to go before that deadline, I decided on what I considered a moderate goal of one pound per week.  I didn't want to do a fad diet, but make healthy changes that would be easier to keep up with.  So the 40x50 program was born.

Amazingly, with smarter choices, smaller portions, and lots more exercise, I manged to reach my 40 pound goal in just over three months.  I decided to add another 10 (or would that be take off another 10?  Anyway...), and I've been able to reach that goal as well.  OK, so as of today it's only 49.9 pounds, but still...

In the process of doing this, I learned some things.  Like, this takes discipline!  And like, sometimes it's not just the things you eat, but the amount.  A lot of my problem wasn't just eating bad stuff, it was just plain too much stuff.  Hopefully these lessons will stick with me, and the weight won't!

It just so happens that I've been preaching through Hebrews over the last year or so.  And we've come to this well known verse at the beginning of chapter 12.  In my mind, the admonitions to “lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely” were basically the same thing.  Get rid of sin!  And while that's a good idea, and certainly at the center of the second part, I've come to realize that the first part is a bit different.

Sometimes, in our effort to “run the race” it's not just the “bad stuff” we need to get rid of.  The junk food, so to speak.  Sometimes, we also have to be careful about things that aren't necessarily bad, we just have too much of it.  Laying aside every weight has more to do with ridding ourselves of our attachment to things which slow us down in our pursuit of Christ, even if they aren't necessarily bad things.  Like my effort at portion control.  The food wasn't necessarily all that bad, I just ate too much of it.

As providence would have it, Tim Challies wrote a nice little article about that this week using the illustration of passengers on planes in emergency situations stopping to get their luggage on the way out.  Their luggage was “good stuff,” passports and wallets and important things.  But in the midst of the crisis, those things were “weighing them down” and causing not only a danger to themselves, but to others who were being blocked by their delay.  Good illustration of what Hebrews is talking about.

Losing weight, or laying aside the weight, took a lot of effort and discipline. It took some reexamining of priorities, changing some habits, and keeping an eye on the progress.  Laying aside the weight in our spiritual lives is no different.  It requires not only dumping the sin, the junk food; but being careful that we don't let even the good things become too much; letting other things in life get in the way of our pursuit of Christ and His will and His way for His glory.  Anything that takes up more of our time and attention, and keeps us from that pursuit of Christ, needs to be laid aside no matter how “good” it might seem.

And one more lesson I've learned.  This weight loss thing did require a lot of effort and focus.  I had to think about what I was doing, about what I was eating, etc.  If I can be that focused and “passionate” about my physical health, why am I not equally passionate about my spiritual health?  Why am I not constantly thinking about how everything I'm taking in will affect my growth?  Why am I not trying to focus intentionally, daily, eagerly on laying aside every weight and sin, the way I focus on my diet and exercise?

When I started my original 40x50 goal, my good friend and old college radio partner David King jokingly said if I made my goal, he'd have to write me a song.  So when I hit that first goal, I sent him a message to let him know I was expecting that song.  And he delivered!  He wrote and recorded this fun, funny, song about my weight loss with the repeated refrain “well done, Scott.”  It's just a play on my name: Scott Weldon – Well Done, Scott.  See what he did there?

But as I'm listening to that “ear worm” of a refrain, I suddenly realized that as much fun as I was having hearing my old friend sing “well done,” shouldn't I be so much more concerned about hearing my Lord say “Well done, my good and faithful servant”?  Shouldn't that be the goal?  Oh, I pray that my heart would be set on that day by day, more and more.  And that I'm willing to lay aside any and all weight in my life that would keep me from it. 

No comments: