TUESDAY, MAY 29
“let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,”
Hebrews 12:1 ESV
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: TRAVELING LIGHT
In 1845, the ill-fated Franklin Expedition sailed from England to find a passage across the Arctic Ocean. The crew loaded their two sailing ships with a lot of things they didn’t need: a 1,200-volume library, fine china, crystal goblets, and sterling silverware for each officer with his initials engraved on the handles. Amazingly, each ship took only a 12-day supply of coal for their auxiliary steam engines. The ships became trapped in vast frozen plains of ice. The men decided to trek to safety in small groups, but none of them survived. One story is especially heartbreaking. Two officers pulled a large sled more than 65 miles across the treacherous ice. When rescuers found their bodies, they discovered that the sled was filled with table silver.
Those men contributed to their own demise by carrying what they didn’t need. But don’t we sometimes do the same? Don’t we drag baggage through life that we don’t need? Evil thoughts that hinder us. Bad habits that drag us down. Grudges that we won’t let go.
Henry Ironside noted about Hebrews 12:1, “Here the apostle begins with the familiar “Let us” of grace, so different from the “Thou shalt” of law.” The author encourages us to lay aside anything that is slowing us down in the race of faith. Some of those things that slow us down might be sin and some of them might not be sin.
Pastor John Piper applies this teaching about encumbrances writing that “the race of the Christian life is not fought well or run well by asking, “what’s wrong with this or that?” but by asking, “is it in the way of greater faith and greater love and greater purity and greater courage and greater humility and greater patience and greater self-control? Not; Is it a sin? But: Does it help me run! Is it in the way? Don’t ask about your music, your movies, your parties, your habits: What’s wrong with it? Ask: Does it help me RUN the race!? Does it help me RUN – for Jesus?”
Pause and ask God to show you anything in your life that is slowing you down in living for Jesus. Sit in quiet for a few moments and see what comes to mind. Ask God to help you lay aside whatever you sense is weighing you down.