Fix your eyes on Jesus and the finish line by reading Hebrews 12:1–3 every day for ten days.
Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance. —Hebrews 12:1
I bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store and kindly ask the bagger to pack those bags full and heavy. Some have questioned my method—and perhaps my strength—with raised eyebrows, a head tilt, and half-smile. But they’d be convinced if they followed me home to watch as I skillfully load bags on my shoulders and in the crook of my arm while carrying at least one additional bag in each hand. I look like a pack mule as I shuffle into the house, but at least I only have to do it a few times.
Once I offload the grocery bags in the kitchen, I begin stocking my cabinets and refrigerator. This quirky habit of mine is a practical illustration of a phrase in Hebrews 12:1, “Let us also lay aside every weight.”
Could this describe your approach to women’s ministry? You’re weighed down not only by all the necessary preparations and duties, but also the pain, suffering, heartache, and doubts of the women you’re serving. (Not to mention your own).
But women are hurting (and often, so are we). The challenges we face in this broken world are real and constant. What does God ask us to do with that weight?
Lay it aside. Some translations say “throw off.” Both phrases indicate a purposeful, conscious action on our part to surrender something we’re not intended to carry on our own. Notice, too, we’re not just counseled to lay aside some, but every weight. This description of running unhindered was understood by the original readers of Hebrews, because the Greco-Roman runners of the day competed naked. They took off everything (literally) to run their race.
Gratefully, we can stay fully clothed while we lay aside every burden—ours or someone else’s—that slows us down anddistracts us from the goal.
Don’t forget the ultimate goal. My goal when I get home from the grocery store isn’t just to get those bags in the house, it’s to stock my kitchen with everything I need to feed my family. As we lay aside the weights that can and should only be carried by Christ (Matt. 11:28–30), we are enabled to serve, love, and care in ways that are needed and display Christ. With eyes fixed on Him, we’ll resolutely persevere to the finish.
Father, show me what is weighing me down. Help me to clearly identify what You do not intend for me to carry. Bring to light whatever is keeping me from pursuing Your purposes and anything that is hindering a display of Your glory. Then enable me to lay those things at Your feet, to throw them off and persevere, focused on You, until I see You face to face. Oh, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah” (Ps. 68:19) and amen.
Reflect and Respond
- What are you carrying that is hindering or distracting you from the purposes God has for you as you serve and live for Him?
- What practical steps can you take to lay them aside? Make it your goal to throw them off and run!
- Listen to Susan Hunt share decades-worth of wisdom gained from running her race faithfully for Jesus in this podcast episode, “Soaring to Glory.”