And not just the physical kind.
It’s easy to put on the weight that pulls us from what God wants and keeps us rooted in our own desires. This weight is unseen but potentially deadly. It’s the burden of living a life for ourselves, instead of living it in the way that we were created to live – exclusively and totally for Him.
Just like the physical weight gain, we often don’t see the slow encroachment of this increasing hindrance. Over time, we slowly put on a little weight here, and then a little weight there, until one day we hardly recognize ourselves. We consider ourselves to be an “in-shape” Christian, just like many of us still think we can run the mile like we did in high school, only to be rudely awakened from that delusion by an gradual, yet significant decline in our spiritual fitness. In our overburdened state, we’re not equipped to even run the first lap of the race, let alone run with perseverance to the end.
Sometimes we like to try to trick ourselves that the weight gain isn’t all that bad. We tell ourselves that the scale hasn’t tipped too far in one direction, it’s just the season of life that we’re in, similar to the way women the world over convince themselves that their doctor’s scale is inaccurate because they wore their shoes while they were on it. We think we can get back in spiritual shape any time we wanted, just like we promise ourselves that after a few weeks of healthy eating we’ll be fitting into our old jeans. In both cases this is rarely true.
However, unlike physical fitness in which sliding into our favorite jeans may be our strongest motivation, Scripture gives us an even more compelling reason for taking off the weight caused by sin. Hebrews 12:1-2 says we do this because we are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses”; people who have run this race and are now at the end. In other words, we are being cheered on by the saints who have gone before – who no longer experience the encumbrance of sin, and want us, to as much as we are able to on this Earth, experience the joy that this attains. They know what it’s like to throw off the weight of sin forever, and through the lives they lived and the life that they are now living, their exhorting us to do the same.
May we press on to that aim.