At the beginning of a New Year most people will make a New Year’s Resolution. Many times that resolution will include something about weight loss. Oftentimes, we will look back at the Holiday Season and regret decisions that were made. Now, we must “pay the piper” and step on that scale. Sometimes, the New Year has even given us an excuse to indulge in certain foods, or behavior, which we normally wouldn’t allow simply because we know that we will put weight loss on our goal list and all will be well. The problem is (with me anyway) that sometimes the goal is ignored and the weight is still there in July! We forget in the heat of the moment how hard the weight is to come off. We forget the discipline it takes to “get it off and keep it off.” We like to indulge and not have to pay the price.
I’m coming to realize though that true weight loss really needs to be spiritual. We must ask ourselves, “What is weighing me down spiritually?” “What is keeping me from being active spiritually speaking?” “What have I allowed myself to indulge in last year that will now take a lot of discipline to let go of?”
Hebrews 12:1 says, “…let us lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The KJV and the HCSB say, “…let us lay aside every weight…”
I know in my own life I have allowed lots of things to weigh me down over the years. Sometimes, the weight that I carried has been something as simple as a bad habit. Maybe I kept hitting the snooze button when I should have been on my knees with my Lord. Maybe I kept fussing at my family for things that were trivial. Maybe I simply wanted to be selfish and have things my way, but all of the trivial issues created a weight that I was not designed to carry.
Other times, the weight has been a little harder to deal with. This burden has often been unforgiveness, anxiety, worry, or stress over a situation. Sometimes, the weight has been a financial concern. This weight was a little heavier, so it took a bit longer to get rid of it. Discipline was required. More effort had to be exerted before the “goal weight” was achieved. Sometimes with this weight, I have even “boomeranged” and regained it, so the “diet” had to start again. New habits had to be formed long term.
Then, there have been times when the weight was so heavy I had no idea how to move (mentally, physically or spiritually) much less cast it off for good. In the past, this weight has been caused by grief…disappointment in God… and sometimes hurts so deep I didn’t know if I could breathe much less take the next step.
I’m sure that you can think of your own burdens as well, but how can they be dealt with? How can every weight, from the lightest to the heaviest, be gone for good? If Matthew 11:28-30 still says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (and it does), how can I lay aside the weight that so burdens me and run the race that is set before me as Hebrews 12 describes?
I am learning that only through God’s Spirit in me can any weight come off. We are not designed to carry these burdens. We must get the heaviness off! Through this weight loss process, I am finding that His Word is absolutely true; not just for the preacher, but for me as well. I am finding that I can lay aside every weight and keep running the race that He has set before me. I am finding that through His Spirit all things are possible through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Through His Spirit, I can know that only God can help me to stand (Romans 14:4b). Through His Spirit in me, I am learning that I not only can lay aside any burden, but I can run through a troop and leap over a wall as well (Psalm 18:29). I know that through His Spirit I can keep from slipping in any circumstance (Jude 22). I can also know that my thoughts can be kept in obedience to Christ on a regular basis (II Corinthians 10:5). I know these things because not only have I heard testimonies of others, but because He has worked these things in my own life. I know His Word is true! I know He is a faithful God. I know it because He has shown Himself to me personally and when I see God as He truly is, the weight drops off. I then realize that nothing is worth hindering my walk with Christ. His journey is perfect for me, so why would I risk slowing down the process?
I need you to know that I have never had to lift a burden off my shoulders that God was not right there bearing most (if not all) of the weight. I have never cast a weight aside that He was not right there faithfully cheering me on. I have never laid aside grief that His grace was not all sufficient to cover. I have never been left on my own to deal with something I made a mess of. That’s not our God. I don’t just wish it, I know it. You can too.
So, as we begin this New Year, may we remember what I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” Through His strength, let’s throw the stuff off that’s been weighing us down. It might take work. It might take some discipline. It might take exercising the faith that Jesus Himself has placed in us, but let’s actually do it! Let’s weigh less this year than we ever have before!