Do you often read a chapter – – – a verse – – – and glide right on over it, though from time to time you wonder – – – what do those words mean – – – and yet you have read them often in your lifetime – – – perhaps even have the verses or chapter memorized. And yet ~~~~~~~~~~~~ you have never stopped to study them and to find out their meaning.
A word study can some times help us to understand a whole chapter better, particularly when some of the words don’t tell you what they speak of.
What thought have you ever given to Hebrews 11 and Hebrews 12? Powerful, moving chapters. Paul as he writes, brings into our vision the Olympics as he does in Philippians 3:14. “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 11 has just given us a bird’s eye view of the “faithfuls” by name plus many others. Then he begins chapter 12 and we find words that make our minds stop and think, what is the “encumbrance” and what is “the sin which so easily entangles us”. It has to be something that is broad, and encompasses all of us – – more general in fact. Not necessarily so!! Here are the first two verses of Chapter 12 of Hebrews.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Talk about word power. Paul has just given us two powerful verses. Unbelievable!! Let’s dissect and get treasure from them.
What is an encumbrance? Would it be the same for each of us? Or could we interpret it in a different way?
An encumbrance becomes the things that can weigh us down heavily. Affection, concern for ourselves, i.e, how we look or how we live. Concentrating on our appearance both in the home and outside to others. As well, it can mean the love and care of our present life not putting too much weight on down the road. It becomes dead weight and pulls at us and weakens our stance before the Lord.
The sin which so easily entangles us. The sin that has the greatest advantage against us may be either the damning sin of unbelief or rather the darling sin that each of us carry with us – – an over fondness of our own place in time, in history, or the way we handle things in our lives, in our work place. How do we look/act/appear to our peers. Or to handling conflicts within the family. Oh. This is a good one. Don’t ruffle feathers. Let’s keep the peace. No one wants trouble. But with this attitude nothing ever can heal because that one person out there somewhere who could have done something, didn’t and can’t because the relationship with their Lord is not extensive enough to break through that road block.
We have a race set before us. Each one does. Patience and perseverance are needed at all times to confront head-on the external and internal hindrances.
The Christians have a race set before them to run. It is clearly marked out, with limits and directions and obedience. Faith and patience will conquer, though they must be cultivated and kept up to date.
We do have a goal: “Looking onto Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.” With our eyes fixed on the goal (Jesus Christ) He will endure contradiction and He is the finisher of grace. He is the judge and rewarder in the end.
Dear Reader, get out of your norm. This verse does not sound too much like a mealy mouthed idea. It seems to infer that we as Christian Soldiers must gather and together we will rise above and lead as we travel on the journey through this life on earth to our Heavenly Home which is straight ahead.Take a stance for Jesus Christ. You will, one of these days, but then it won’t be of your own accord and what is forced upon you, you probably won’t like too much. Be careful how you slide over verses and their words and leave them until “a more convenient time”. It ain’t gonna happen.
“Jesus Christ. The same yesterday today and forever.” He stands firm. With the “encumberance” which is yours to bear and the “sin which so easily entangles you”, how is it going for you!! Are you a wilting flower, here today gone tomorrow? Or are you standing firm, with eyes fixed on Jesus Christ and the marching orders from Him are, “Forward MARCH”.
Til next time.