Ankle Weights

… let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Hebrews 12:1b (NLT)

Many moons ago, in high school, I was in pretty good physical shape. I had about three percent body fat, I ran miles every day, I worked out, I played sports. I was fast, quick, and could run 100 yards down a football field at top speed and not even breathe hard when I reached the end zone. It was all about conditioning. I worked hard to be in, and stay in shape.

One day, my coach decided to add a new wrinkle to my conditioning. He had me run up the football field and back, 200 yards wearing two five-pound ankle weights and two five-pound wrist weights. Of course, in my mind, I thought it would be easy. What difference could such a small amount of weight actually make? I probably wouldn’t even notice that I was wearing them. I was wrong. I took off like a shot down the field. I was in full-sprint mode. By the time I got to the 50-yard mark, I was already starting to breathe hard. When I arrived at the first end zone, I was gasping for air. I turned and headed back down the field only to realize I was in trouble. As I reached the 50-yard line for the second time, I could no longer feel my legs. Upon my return to the starting line, I collapsed in utter exhaustion and physical pain. I couldn’t even stand any more. Those small, 5-pound weights nearly killed me.

In our spiritual lives, sin has the same effect. “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up.” Yup. Even the small sins that we think don’t really impact us trip us up. Unfortunately, we’re often unwilling to admit that they do.

We are quick to make excuses, “They aren’t that bad. They aren’t harming anyone. I don’t think they’re causing any issues in my life. They’re just little sins.” These are the same types of thoughts I had when running with just a little bit of extra weight. But, the further down life’s journey we get, the more these tiny sins begin to have an effect on our lives. They may not seem like too much to bear when we first start out, buy they slowly begin to wear us down.

What extra weight of sin do you carry in your life? What are the things that are slowing down your journey with God? Pray that God will strip them away. Pray that He will free you from their burden. Then, follow God where He leads, running His race with endurance.

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