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This past Sunday I had the privilege to preach and my text was Hebrews 12:1-3, one of my favorites. As I tried to unpack this passage and explain what this text meant to the original audience and how it can apply to us, one phrase stuck out. “laying aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us,”. An encumbrance is simply a bulk, weight or mass of some kind. It isn’t necessarily bad. But as the author says, we need to lay it aside. So, I started asking myself what are the encumbrances that I need to lay aside so that I can run the race of faith better? Television, internet, books, relationships…. what is slowing me down? This is not an easy question and sometimes not a pleasant one to answer.

The author then continues to press his point by saying we need also to remove the sin that entangles us. This entanglement is harasses or attacks us. It trips us up. Like running the race with our shoes untied. So what could this sin be that seems to be constant in our lives? Jerry Bridges in his book Respectable Sins, details some of the sins that we passively overlook in our lives. It could be discontentment, unthankfulness, pride, selfishness, lack of self control, impatience & irritability, anger, judgementalism, envy, tongue or worldliness. One thing that is common with all sin – IT ISN’T PASSIVE.

Sin is active.

C.J. Mahaney wrote an article a little more than a month ago concerning the issue with Tiger Woods and the deception of sin:

“Deception is part of sin’s DNA. Sin lies to us. It seeks to convince us that sin brings only pleasure, that it carries no consequences, and that no one will discover it. Sin works hard to make us forget that character, conduct, and consequences are interconnected. And when we neglect this relationship—when we think our sins will not be discovered—we ultimately mock God.”

Some of us have been lulled into thinking that if we can suppress sin long enough it will just away; we have fooled ourselves by saying sin is not really a big deal. And in reality we have mocked God. Proverbs 28:13 “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” What sin(s) in our lives do we need to confess to God? We have the promise in scripture that “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Thank God for his long-suffering for us His children!

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