Hebrews 12: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us get rid of every burden and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with patient endurance the race that is laid out for us. 2 Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who is the author of our faith and the one who brings it to its goal. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of God’s throne. 3 Carefully consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinful people, so that you do not grow weary and lose heart. (EHV)
We tend to start a new chapter and forget what the previous chapter was about, but in the original text, there were no chapter divisions. Chapter 11 ended with reminding us the host of righteous believers who endured persecution, hardship and death for what they believed. The Hebrews faced the same things. And so do we, perhaps on a lesser scale. But there are also the normal hardships of life that weigh us down and the sins that so easily ensnare us. We do indeed “walk in danger all the way.”
So what does the writer to the Hebrews encourage us to do? First, he tells us to get rid of the baggage we have and the sins that entangle us. A man I know led a group of youth on a backpacking trip. He let them pack their own bags, but warned them to pack light. Snacks. Soda. More snacks. The first day out they struggled under their load and ended up throwing almost all of it into the first trash can they encountered. Life can be like that for us. We struggle under a load of worries and cares because of the “unnecessities” that we throw into our life and schedules. If you are bogged down, first unload!
Second and more importantly, our writer encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author of our faith and the one who makes it complete. Look at Jesus and what he did! He endured more than any of the saints will ever endure. Yet in view of the joy set before him, the joy of saving us, he endured the cross and the shame he bore on it.
What a Savior we have! When I think of what he did for me, then life’s burdens and rejection from the world seem small things. Jesus bore the real burden for us and his yoke is easy and light in comparison to that. Prayer: Lord Jesus, my heart is restless until it finds rest in you! Teach me to set down the burdens of this life and cast away the sin that entangles and to fix my eyes on you, the author and perfecter of my faith. I ask this in your name. Amen.