Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV)
Compliments of the season to you! I hope your Christmas was truly merry, filled with love and joy and fun time with loved ones! As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, I pray that His joy will fill your heart, not just in this beautiful season, but throughout the coming year. May your heart be filled with the peace that passes all understanding; may you experience eternal hope through Christ in all situations, and may your daily life embody the reality of the redemption promised to those who believe.
As we go through the season of reflections, planning, resolutions, and new decisions, I’d like to offer a thought for the New Year – travel light! The Bible admonishes us in Hebrews 12:1 to “…lay aside every weight…” as we run the race set before us. This admonition follows an extensive listing of many heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, reminding us of how they so faithfully clung to what they believed in despite the adversities and difficulties they encountered. The Scripture considers that like a runner, our victory is more assured if we are free of encumbrances.
I invite you to consider what might be a weight you need to lay aside as you go into in the new year. Is it a mindset or thought pattern? A haunting or distressing emotion? A detrimental relationship? A sinful or destructive habit? The answers are as diverse as we are different. The common factor that all weights have is that they sap your energy, eating away at you and wasting your precious time and life. In other words, they slow you down by consuming your energy, distracting you from what’s important and draining you of energy for productive activities.
If you harbor bitterness or anger towards someone (who may not even know), it is time to let it go. If you are stuck thinking about how much better you might have been if a certain event had not occurred, it is time to move on and look forward. If you are trapped with friends who always drag you to places you do not want to go or make you feel worthless, it is time to let go. The thing about weights is that they are often not easy to let go of – there is a reason we carried them in the first instance. But the first step in letting go is deciding.
The second step is sticking with that decision the day after you first make it. And then the day after that. Letting go requires a continued commitment to letting go. It is difficult to forgive hurts that go deep. It is easier when we ask God for help to forgive. And that is the third step – getting help, from God and accountability partners. Reach out to people who can check on you and make sure you’re not picking up old baggage, who can pray with you, who maybe can relate with your struggle and share their own victories to encourage you to continue to travel light.
Life is easier when we travel light. We can more accurately discern circumstances and perceive divine direction when our hearts are free of weights and sinful baggage that try to ensnare us. The journey to a light heart can be difficult, but life without baggage can be very joyful and peaceful. Be careful that the Enemy does not introduce a new baggage into your life as you let go of one. Guard your heart diligently to avoid Satan from getting a foothold in it. Whatever you do in the new year, don’t pick up weights. Always be sure to travel light. I pray the year 2022 will be your best yet!