1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also 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, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
It seems to me that generally when we think of the sins talked about in verse one we, or at least I, often think of "BIG" sin. Sin we would never consider ourselves tempted by: criminal acts, acts of anger or violence, sexual immorality, even lying, cheating, or stealing. We think to ourselves, "Phew, don't have to worry about that." But last night as I read this verse that word, "easily" stood out to me. For most of us, or at least I hope this is true, we don't easily fall into those "big" sins. So that made me start to think about the "easy" sins. What do I get easily entangled by? For me it looks like worry, anxiety, disappointment, insecurity, self doubt or self loathing, feeling like I'm unworthy or not good enough. Oh and then there is bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, fear, and discontent. Am I alone in that?
All of those things really are easy to fall into. They do easily entangle and I think that's because for the most part we can hide them. I really believe these are the things that the author had in mind when he wrote Hebrews. I believe this because in verse three he goes on to say, "For consider Him who has endured...so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." In the foot note of my Bible it says, "fainting in your souls." Wow that so perfectly describes some of my feelings lately. I've felt overwhelmed and have found myself so easily entangled in those easy sins. My soul is faint. But he says to put aside those things, to fix my eyes on Jesus who endured the cross so that I would not have to be ensnared by those sins.
But. How? How do I set those things aside? I know my stuff is nothing in comparison to Hebrews 11:32-40 but how do I keep from being consumed by my world and my situations?
For consider Him...
I love what the AMP Bible has to say in verse 3: Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.
So today instead of letting myself become consumed, ensnared, and entangled I reckon I'm just going to reckon up and consider all that He has done. I'm going to think of Him. Just think on Him. He's always the answer.
I'm going to let my heart take courage and find strength. Today I'm going to live out verse 12:
12 So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,
13 And cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.
I love those words "cut through." They so add to the imagery. Picture yourself walking that path. It becomes thick with undergrowth, the vines seem to crawl around your ankles, entangling you. It's not you, it could have happened to anyone. It's the path we walk, but you have to fix your eyes on Him, be determined. Don't give in. Cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. He's made a way for us. And He is the Prize.