Spiritual Weight Watchers

Steve Hulshizer

The statisticians tell us that the majority of Americans are overweight.
This is no surprise since many spend most of their day sitting behind a desk, or in front
of the TV. Add to this a steady diet of fast-foods, and you have the perfect formula for
being overweight.

Many Christians are not only physically overweight, but spiritually
overweight as well. This excess spiritual weight limits their ability to make progress in
the race of faith that is set before them. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this when
he says, ?Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.?(Heb. 12:1)

Those to whom he was writing had made professions of faith in the Jesus
Christ, but some of them were considering turning back to Judaism. There were two things,
among others, which tempted them to return. These were ?comfort? and
?ceremony.?

Since they were suffering persecution from family members and former
friends, returning would do away with the persecution and bring desired comfort. In
addition, Judaism was a visible religion. It had the temple, the priests, and the
sacrifices, while Christianity had none of these. Many professing Christians are drawn by
these same things today. The comfort and ceremony of a big church, as compared to the
small, and often belittled small group of believers who attempt to be obedient to
God?s Word. (Rev. 3:8)

The writer of Hebrews goes to great length to show his readers that in
Christ they have One Who is far superior to Judaism, and that they would need to live by
faith, taking God at His Word concerning the blessings that were yet future. To encourage
them in their faith, a ?cloud of witnesses?is given in chapter 11. These were
those who had gone before them and had exercised faith in God?s promises, despite
great opposition. They had run the race to the end, even though they did not receive the
promises. (Heb. 11:39)

In chapter 12 they are encouraged to press on in the race which they began
when they came to Christ. They were to cast off any weights that would hold them back, and
any sin that would entangle them, making running an impossibility. They were to keep their
eyes on Jesus in glory, the One Who perfectly finished what He began, enduring the cross,
counting as nothing man?s mockings and hatred.

Now the question is, ?What are weights for us today?? ?
Weights are those things that keep us earthbound. Things that slow us down in our progress
toward our heavenly home, that turn our eyes away from a risen Lord in glory, and make us
feel at home in this world. That which makes us forget that this world is headed for
judgment, and that our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil. 3:20)? Those things that
cause us to forget that we are pilgrims and strangers in this world.? Strangers
because this is not our land, and pilgrims because we are going to another.

God warned Israel on a number of occasions that when they were
?fat?they would forget Him. (Deut. 32:15) So it is with many of His saints
today. (Rev. 3:17) Prosperity has caused many to be spiritually overweight. Weighed down
by the drive for success, the desire to be comfortable, and the false security that riches
bring, many have settled down in this world, forgetting about running the race of faith. A
race that should cause us to trim down, casting off the weights of this world of sight and
sound.

Just as with physical weight, spiritual weight has a way of sneaking up on
us. It has been wisely said, ?We do not notice excess weight while we are standing
still.?? It is when we attempt to make progress that the weight becomes
noticeable! It is when we attempt to live with eternity in view that we find we are
weighed down by the things of this world. How many of the Lord?s people are unable to
exercise their spiritual gifts and serve the Lord and His people because they ?mind
earthly things.?(Phil. 3:19)? Like Lot and Demas, they have settled down in this
present world (Gen. 14:12; 2? Tim.4:10) Not this present ?evil world,? but
this ?present world,? as compared to ?the world to come.?(Mk. 10:30)

May we be ?spiritual weight watchers,? free to run without
weights towards heaven. (2 Cor. 5:7)

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