“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay side every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Most of us tend to label as sin things that may facilitate sin. In other words, we can’t differentiate between weights and sins. Weights are things in our lives that slow us down in our walk of faith. They may be harmless to some, but with you or I, they often lead to sin. But the inability to see the difference between the two can become a weight in itself with the potential to drag our spiritual growth down to a crawl. Here are two reasons why I think this is true.
First, when you’re busy trying to hold down all the apples in a barrel, it’s hard to see the rotten ones. I have long suspected that when we throw all our preferences and pet irritants in with Bible sins, we may elevate recognition of questionable preferences; but for those who see them as being just that—questionable—we have also lowered true sins to the the same plain. Christian historian, Paul Johnson, has observed, “History teaches it is a mistake to have too many convictions, held with equal certitude and tenacity. They crowd each other out.” I agree. And from what I’ve seen, it’s the true, biblical convictions that most often get crowded out by personal preferences.
Second, weights are sometimes easier to spot in others and ourselves. The immoral activity of the Sunday School girl may be hidden behind “modest apparel,” while the moral girl in the questionable, trendy outfit is singled out for censure. This is not to belittle modest apparel, by any means, only to point out that it’s not a guarantee of purity. On the other hand, “suggestive” clothes are always in danger of doing just that: suggesting something to the opposite sex.
Personally, when I’m fixated on my own personal rules, I lose sight of God’s. But pleasing Him has to be my goal, not living up my own standards. They should never be an end in themselves. And they’re my weights, maybe not yours. It’s never pharisaical to condemn sin, but it is to condemn weights, because they can be either questionable or non-questionable.
Bob Jones, Sr. gives an illustration of a man running down the street with a jug of whiskey under one arm and a grindstone under the other. He can throw down the questionable whiskey jug; but if he hangs on to the grindstone that no one could condemn, he’ll be just as slowed down!
May God give us the grace to lay aside every weight and sin—and the spiritual discernment to know the difference.