"...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..." Hebrews 12:1b
Did you catch it? Did you catch that the words "weight" and "sin" are separate? Did you see that they are separated by a comma? DO NOT MISS THAT: THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Go ahead and read it again. I'll wait.
Okay, but really. They are two separate words. Two separate definitions.
weight: Gk. onkon = bulk, encumbrance
sin: Gk amartian = sin, failure
Let me tell you, I've have had a journey with these words. This verse has liberated me time and time again and it [Lord willing] always will.
I often teach the practical difference of these two words in one shot. I HATE RUNNING OR WORKING OUT WITH LONG SLEEVES ON. Like, hate hate hate! Now for me, I'm not a professional runner or professional weight lifter. But here's the thing: running or lifting weights with long sleeves on isn't wrong, in fact, A LOT of people wear them when working out. But for me? IT'S A HINDRANCE. I get too hot, or I have to keep pushing my sleeves up, etc. Do you see what I'm saying here?
There are things in our lives as believers that we do which is SIN. Engaging in gossip, sex outside of marriage, thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought, coveting, etc: these things are sin. HINDRANCES, however, do not necessarily look like these. Let me give a few examples from my own journey in this.
Hindrances for me look like: going home every night from work and just watching tv or movies. Hindrances to me look like sleeping in til the last second, every day before work (so I don't have my quiet time). Hindrances to me look like watching rated R movies or tv shows. Hindrances to me look like binge watching romantic Hallmark movies. Hindrances to me look like leaving immediately after church on Sundays (repeatedly) and not engaging with those around me.
Are these things sin? Not at all. But what I found in my life was that I wasn't purposely being with God or studying more about Him. I wasn't forcing myself to get to know Him and His thoughts, His dreams for me or His word. I found myself with so much alone time that I just talked to myself all the time about how little my job paid, how I'm single when all my friends are married and how God was at work in everyone else's lives except my own. All I did was focus on what I didn't have instead of what I DID have.
It was around this time that I encountered two life-changing things: the Experiencing God study, and God's voice in my mind telling me, "Put away the tv/movies Monday through Thursday".
In the EG study, you are challenged to pray, "God, open my eyes to where You are at work around me and in me" DAILY. So then, in combination with eliminating the tv and movies, I found myself being so much more aware of His presence in my world- and my life. More and more I found myself disliking the sin of sex, infidelity and selfish living that is so promoted in so much of our tv and movies today. I was reading more and more, be it novels or be it Christian Living books or books about God.
There was less trash in my brain, and noticing more and more of God at work.
These are just simple examples from my simple life of what the differences are between sin and weight (hindrances). I have many, many more, as I am sure so do you. And you know what? We'll never be perfect. We'll never attain perfection and never sin while here on this earth, but what we ARE called to do is to run the race that is set before us.
So dear Beloved, begin to peel off that which is not only wrong, but also which hinders. Experience the freedom the God longs for you to live in. Let my life be an example to you that it IS possible.
It is for freedom that Christ has set you free. (Gal 5:1)
Bondage and complacency was never meant to be comfortable or livable.