August 10, 1628, was a dark day in naval history. On that day the royal warship Vasa set out on her maiden voyage. After taking 2 years to build, being lavishly decorated and holding 64 cannons, the pride of the Swedish navy sank only one mile out to sea. What went wrong? The excessive load was too heavy to make her seaworthy. Excess weight pulled the Vasa to the bottom of the ocean.
The Christian life can also be weighed down by excess baggage. Encouraging us in our spiritual journey, the book of Hebrews says: “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, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (12:1-2).
Like the lavishly decorated ship, we may project to others an impressive exterior. But if on the inside we are weighed down with sin, our perseverance can be impaired. There is a remedy, however. By relying on God’s guidance and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, our load can be lightened and our perseverance buoyant.
Forgiveness and grace are always available to the spiritual traveler. By Dennis Fisher
We are told in today’s passage to lay aside everything that hinders our daily walk of faith. The writer of Hebrews tells us that the example of “a cloud of witnesses” helps us to persevere (12:1). These witnesses are most likely the people listed in chapter 11 who walked in faith looking for the promises of God. We are also told to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (12:2), who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our example of patient perseverance, having endured the cross and the hostility of sinners, and He is now seated at God’s right hand (vv.2-3). With the saints behind us and Christ ahead of us we can press on.
Father in heaven, too often I try to mask the burden
and weight of sin in my life with the outward activities
of the Christian life. Forgive me. Help me to set aside
the things that keep me from running a good race.
Perseverance is as much about a strong won’t as a strong will.