The Christian world just celebrated the focal point of the faith with Easter. Easter Sunday is consistently one of the two highest attended church services of the year for every church. People come for many different reasons:
- To celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ
- Sunday church is their habit
- Their mother or grandmother begs them
- It is the family tradition
- Easter Sunday is their way of saying to themselves they believe in Christ
And for some, they truly want to start the Christian life. Kind of like every January when people decide to join Weight Watchers or the local gym to lose weight and get into shape, these people choose to start on Easter Sunday.
But just like all the well intentioned people after the New Year who quit trying to lose weight and get into shape by February, these people also stop trying to continue within a few weeks.
Many times, what causes us to stumble or quit trying is we are dragged down by weights—attitudes, habits, behaviors, etc. But these weights are made up of both the kind we want and those we don’t. Though the weight may be something we know is not good for us; something we cannot imagine life without.
Just like the man going to Weight Watchers thinking how can he survive without unlimited Bar-B-Q or all-you-can-eat IHOP pancakes. Sometimes we tend to enjoy the things that keep us from reaching our goal and cannot fathom life without.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” (Hebrews 12:1)
The imagery here is simple; if we are going to try to run a marathon or bike the Tour De France, we want to rid ourselves of any excess weight which would make it tougher or prevent us from finishing. We don’t typically see fat guys finishing marathons or bike races.
For those of you into fishing and boating, in a sermon my pastor preached when I was a teen, he used the illustration of removing barnacles from the hull of ship to help it ride through the water with less effort.
Barnacles are similar to crabs and lobsters and will attach themselves to the hull of ships in great numbers preventing the hull from smoothly slicing the water as the ship is propelled forward, causing the engine to work harder.
Interestingly the writer of Hebrews differentiates from things that are not considered sin that slow us down to sin that trips us up. There may be things in your life that for you hinder your relationship with God and your ability to endure the Christian life and these things may not be considered “sin” but for you could be placed in that category.
As we begin this series, I encourage you to begin to identify the “barnacles” in your life. What are the weights that make the Christian life so tough for you? Consider the results and benefits of your barnacles to the results and benefits of the Christian life without them.
Maybe your barnacles are not necessarily considered sin, but you know whatever they are keeps you from giving your all in your relationship with God. And maybe there are behaviors in your life that are considered sin that you need to rid yourself of.
Could it be in your best interest to strip off every weight that slows you down, especially the sin that so easily trips you up?