traincrowdSince we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance. (Heb. 12:1)

What is an encumbrance? It is an unnecessary weight. If you are going to walk on the water, the last thing you need is weight. (Matt. 14:29)

Hebrews 12:1 continues, saying, "And that sin which so readily, deftly and cleverly, clings to and entangles us." Notice it says "clings to and entangles." Not only do we have the encumbrance and the weight if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the things of the world, but also we have sin, which cleverly clings to and entangles us.

It's difficult to walk when you are entangled. Have you ever been entangled in something? Being all tied up and having extra weight is not a condition that a Christian should be in. Here's why:

Let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us. (Heb. 12:1)

Every one of us has a goal God has set before us. We should be headed toward that goal. We must be steady and have an active persistence and patient endurance to accomplish it.

I know a lot of people that endure, but they don't endure patiently. There is a difference. You can always tell somebody who is not enduring patiently, because they tell you how much they are enduring. Patience is peaceful. If you are patient, you will be at peace. If you are not at peace, you are not being patient.

The writer of Hebrews then wrote in verse 2, "Looking away [from all that will distract]." We must keep our eyes on the finish line. In other words, we must stay focused on the goal. Jesus who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:2)

Jesus pressed in toward His goal and He was able to do it because He did not waver from looking at the prize that was before Him. He was not distracted. Sin equals weight. Anything that hinders you on the way toward your goal is sin. If God has placed a goal before you, if He's put a calling before you, anything that hinders you from obtaining that goal is sin because it is not of faith. The Scriptures tell us anything not of faith is sin. The only way to combat the encumbrance is to fight the fight of faith.(1 Tim. 6:12)

Sometimes people get a little embarrassed about being a faith person, but we should never be embarrassed to be a faith person. In spite of all the things that have happened in the name of faith (that were not faith), our faith does not have to waiver.

The only person who loses when they are trying to press in is the one that quits pressing in. As long as you do not allow the weight to encumber you, you will win. As long as you do not allow yourself to get tangled up, you will win. As long as you don't get into a pity party because you think you are all by yourself, you will win. As long as you keep pressing in with faith, you will win!

Quitters always lose! Faith always wins!

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