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Lay it Aside
March 12, 2012 • By Ed Wrather
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares (besets - KJV) us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV.
Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped and held captive for nine months, has married and is moving on with her life. Elizabeth's mother had some advice for her daughter as to the kidnapping and captivity, "He (David Mitchell - the kidnapper) has already taken nine months your life. Don't give him any more of your life." (CNN Headline News 03.12.12)
Elizabeth lived a nightmare for nine months enduring unspeakable horrors, and then had to relive those horrors recounting them in a courtroom at the trial of her abductor. She is an amazing woman whose courage has given encouragement to many. May the rest of her life be blessed!
As I listened to the words of Elizabeth Smart's mother, it occurred to me that those with addictions are being held captive. If you have an addiction, you are being held captive by a cruel master who has completely disrupted your life. If you have an addiction, your life is off course from where God would have it to be. If you have an addiction, you are being robbed, robbed of life. If you have an addiction, you are continually in danger of losing any life that you may have left.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews gives encouragement to those with addictions. We are told that we must "lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us." The old KJV refers to this as sin which "besets us." Besetting sin, or ensnaring sin, is sin which holds us captive. Dictionary dot com defines an addiction in this way: "the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma."
We are told in Hebrews 12:1 that we should "lay aside" our addiction. All of Hebrews chapter 11 leads up to this statement that we should "lay aside every weight, and the sin...." The first word of Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore", refers back to Hebrews 11. What does Hebrews 11 tell us? Hebrews chapter 11 is the great roll call of the faithful. Hebrews 11 recounts the deeds of many who through faith endured to the end. Those heroes of the faith were overcomers. They overcame their fears they overcame their cruel masters, they overcame because they could see beyond the here and now to eternity. Hebrews 11 begins with this statement, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Hebrews 11:1-3)." The writer of Hebrews is telling us to look beyond the temporary, look beyond the need for the temporary fix of comfort that our addiction may provide. Look beyond this day, look beyond this moment to eternity. Look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and "lay aside" that addiction that has us ensnared.
How much time, how much life has the cruel master of your addiction taken away from you? How long have you been enslaved? Your addiction has already robbed you of years of your life. Don't give away any more of your life to it! Lay it aside, as you look beyond the need for some temporary comfort, looking to eternity. Jesus is the "author and finisher of our faith" and He has come to give you life. Allow Jesus to put your life back together, and restore the years (Joel 2:25) that the locusts of your addiction have eaten away.
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