Friday, September 19, 2014

Lay Aside....

image used under Creative Commons license, 
picture from  New Era Events, Inc. blog
“Putting our faith in Christ is not about trying harder; it means transferring our trust away from ourselves and resting in him.” -- Tim Keller

Picture a man holding up a boulder, like our illustration to the left.  Trying harder would be like us doing that.  Depending on what the boulder is composed of, it might be light enough to hold up.  But, even then, there's a limit to how long we could continue to hold it.  We have to deal with that fact.

Take a look at what God says.  There's a clear picture in Hebrews 12:1 of how He looks at our boulder lifting.  It's evident that Tim Keller has it right.

Hebrews 12:1 (KJV)  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  

The angels and those who reached heaven before us are looking down, through the crystal sea, watching our walk with God and how it glorifies Him.  But it's the next segment that's our focus.  It says to lay aside "every weight" and sin.  Cast them away, push them away, throw them off.  And "weight" speaks of hindrances.  When we think of our troubles and our sins, that's a powerful verse.  

The verse doesn't tell us to deal with our situation.  It says lay it aside.  If we pay attention, we can realize that God knows how great our messes get.  So, He tells us not to handle them ourselves. Thanks to Jesus going to the Cross and our accepting that gift, our burdens and sin are no longer ours.  They belong to God.  It's part of God's recognition that we can't handle them.  Whether we decide that we're too miniscule or the burdens and sin are too massive, it still comes down to one thing.  We need something greater than ourselves to keep us from being crushed by it all.

The realization of that takes the burden off us.  Our walk changes from going alone through life, trying to please God, to walking with God beside us, ready to support us if we stumble.  But there's more.  It now becomes abundantly clear that we can't save ourselves.  The weight of that is too great. Think of Jonah 2:9, which says, "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.".

John Piper shared two verses that are appropriate, here.

Proverbs 21:31 (KJV)  The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.

Psalm 20:7 (KJV)  Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

No matter what resources of our own we think will do the trick, we find out otherwise.  Only God is omniscient.  Only God is omnipresent.  Only God is omnipotent.  And only God loves us enough to still love us after our worst acts of disobedience.

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Repentance is part of that package.  Maybe more so than anything else.  It's an act of changing our thinking, turning from one thing toward another.  We can look throughout the Bible and find people who rejected God and didn't repent.  They didn't reject God because they didn't repent.  It's exactly the reverse of that.  They didn't repent because they rejected God.  We need salvation and God's help to repent.  Repentance isn't a means to salvation, it's a sign that salvation has occurred.  

Remember Psalm 37:39: "But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble."  Salvation and deliverance are from God, not our own works.  Anything we do right is a signpost to what God has done and there to glorify Him, not our own efforts.

With all of that in mind, have we transferred our trust from ourselves to God, today?  Have we laid aside the weight and sin that form our personal boulder?  Are we ready to run the race of Hebrews 12:1 without our burdens to hinder us?

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