How Can We Become Unencumbered? blog

 In Daily Encouragement

When I was a kid growing up at the Naval Academy at the end of June was Induction Day.  On that day about 1000 new midshipmen, called plebes, arrived to say goodbye to their parents and literally everything else that was “theirs” and the process of making them into Naval Officers began.

There was no “move in” day like when my kids went off to college.  They needed to bring with them absolutely nothing because they were about to become “unencumbered” of everything from their previous personal life.  They were given everything they needed to begin their life in the Navy and as much as possible each person became a blank slate to be remade into a Naval Officer.

One of the first steps in helping plebes become unencumbered was the haircut. A quick trip to the navy barber shop and within one minute all their hair is gone for the men and every woman’s hair cut to the preordained acceptable length.

That is what I think about when I read these verses in Hebrews 12;

“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 …”

The military wants to strip you of as much of your past as possible so that they can rebuild you into a soldier who they can train to do things their way.  When the enemy is close and a battle imminent it is not the time for individualism but for everyone to work as a team.

God has called all of us to a journey of faith.  This journey is to take us from where we have fallen to where He desires us to be.  It is a journey of leaving the old sinful ways of our life and walk into the life of being a new creation in Christ.  It is a life that is being transformed by the Spirit where there is less of me and more of Jesus.

In order for this to happen there is “stuff” that we need to lay aside.  The verse says …

lay aside every encumbrance

To lay aside something means you put it down.  You drop it.  You let it go and walk away from it.  In life, there is only so much stuff we can do.  Every one of us has the exact amount of time – 168 hours in a week and 24 hours a day.  There are some things that are required like work, sleep, and food. There is time in your day that you do not have control over and some that we call free time.

I have learned that it is the choices we make during each day that will determine whether or not we are progressing not only in our recovery from sexual brokenness but into being transformed into my Christ-like men and women.

So, what is it that encumbers you?  Obviously, our addictive behavior of sexual sin needs to go but figuring out how to do that is the challenge.  We cannot just remove our sin nature and escape from the fallen world in which we live.  However, there are things that we must do so that these two things are impacting us less.

What things do you need to remove from your schedule so that you experience less temptation?  What is encumbering your walk with Christ?  Why not ask the Spirit to specifically show you what needs to go?  Then, share that with someone who knows how to hold you accountable and can be daily support for you when you are tempted to pick that garbage up again.

There is another side of becoming unencumbered that is equally important.  It is not just the letting go of the junk but then adding in its place that which has value and can have a positive effect upon you.

I have learned in my own journey that both of these two things are critical.  We need to be leaving behind those things that draw us back into sexual sin PLUS adding those things that help us grow stronger in Christ.

Tomorrow we will look at the sin that so easily entangles us and then what we can put in its place.  I know this is hard and difficult work which is why you will not be able to accomplish this on your own.  You will need to have some others who are seeking to do the same thing helping you as you, in turn, are helping them.

Many are doing this in our Online Support Team ministry.  Email me if you would like more information about our OSTs.  I will invite you to sit in on a session to see what they are like and then you can decide if it would be helpful to you.

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