Gardendale Nazarene

to live completely for Christ...

Archives for January 2017 | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

What weighs you down?

As many of you know, one of my favorite activities is backpacking. Since I am a gear-nerd, I get excited with the arrival of the new Backpacker’s Magazine Gear Guide. This magazine is filled with pages of new gear. One of the recent trends in backpacking is ultralight backpacking. Lighter gear equals longer hikes and shoulders that aren't quite so sore.

As you look through the Gear Guide, many of the new products fall into this 'ultra-light' category. A few years ago, I had an 'a-ha moment' while looking at these products. I thought, "Ooh, a new, lighter stove, that surely would help me hike farther without getting as worn out. I could shave a whole pound compared to my early 90's stove."

Then a terrible thing happened... I looked down at my gut. Who cares about a one pound savings when I was carrying an extra 10+ pounds?

The truth hurt...

My question for you today is this, "What is it that weighs you down?" I'm not talking about physical weight.

What is it that makes your heart heavy?
What burdens do you carry?
What do you worry about?
Or, who do you worry about?
What is on your mind throughout the day?

Let’s look at one of the great passages from Hebrews, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I would like to take a moment to point out a couple things in this passage. First, I love the imagery of this passage. It reminds us that the life of faith is not watched from the sidelines. The ones who watch are the ones who have passed before us! We are in the race– you and me! We are disciples who must keep our Master before us. He is “the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

Second, we are reminded that we too need to 'lay aside every weight.'

My point is this- we all carry burdens. We all have heavy hearts. We all have things that either leave a pit in our stomach or make us cry when we think too much about them.

I think the author of Hebrews is reminding us, "Don't forget the context of what you carry."

What do I mean by that? Look at the passage... Your burdens are in the context of those who have gone before you– those how have 'fought the good fight'. They carried burdens too- and they are now cheering for you.

Also, take a moment to look at what you are carrying. Some of us are carrying sin and that sin must be dropped. It is weighing you down and needs to be left behind. Our extra weight is our sin.

Some of us are carrying things that are not ours to carry. We carry worry and stress about things that we cannot change. What do we do in this instance? We 'look to Jesus'.

And, finally, there are burdens that we do carry and need to carry. What do we do then?

We run with endurance. Eyes fixed on Jesus. We remember that He endured the cross and through the burdens He carried, He sits in His rightful place.

I only know a small fraction of what many of you are carrying, but please know that I love you and lift you up. May you lay aside this weight and run after the One who leads you.