Christian’s life on earth is more or less a journey, a journey that has a beginning and an end; a race that requires completion. It begins by being born again and ended by either death or rapture. The Rapture has not yet taken place so let’s say by death. All the Church triumphant (dead Christians) ended their journeys by death, which is the way of all the earth. One day you will also end your journey, this same death shall surely come for you. Will you go to heaven or hell?
I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man. 1Ki 2:2
When someone hears the message of the Gospel, accepts Christ as his personal savior and decides to follow Him whole-heartedly, he becomes a born again Christian and starts the journey. This is what John said, “He has crossed over from death to life.” You are now a Citizen of heaven and a stranger or a pilgrim on this earth and are set forth to manifest the new life in Christ.
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.1Jo 3:14
Christianity is, therefore, like a king who said, “I want people who can run from this point to the other point of five miles away, and whoever that is able, I will not blot his name from my book but shall reward him.” You show up and say, “I will.” Then he says, “Ok, my guards write his name in my book of participation, if he is able to overcome all the troubles on the way and win, I will reward him greatly.” You begin your race, things that beset start showing up in your way (temptations), some are so attractive, you try to overcome or reject them but some becomes so difficult to forgone. You reach slippery places and fall but do not remain on the ground; you reach an area of thorns and thistles (trials and tribulations) but manage to overcome, and so on and so forth, finally you reach the place and you are rewarded for your victory. On the contrary, you are unable to forgo things that beset, you slip and fall and you just lie down enjoying the fall. You reach where thorns and thistles are and you decide not to walk through, and so you do not overcome. Your name is simply blot out from the participants’ book and off you go to hell for losing!
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Re 3:5
Just like the magi, we all have one goal: to reach where Christ is. The magi went from the east to Jerusalem and to Bethlehem to seek for the baby Jesus, but we Christians are in Zion, the City of God, and are marching to the glorified Jesus with our crosses on our shoulders. The road is tough and slippery; there are a lot of thorns and thistles on the road, some parts are so dark and hot that going through is not easy at all. It all takes determination, perseverance, and focus; if we do not lose focus, we shall overcome. Always think about the things above, the very far side; beyond the curtains, where our Redeemer went!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Following Christ whole-heartedly in this world is not an easy way to go, but thanks be to the Lord who has promised to be with us to the very end of the world. Trials and temptations are all in the way to beset you, but they are there to reveal the false converts from the true ones; they are there to make you strong and genuine. If you have truly accepted Christ as your savior, you will cling to Christ no matter what; you will never think about turning your back to Him just as Demas did to Paul at the point he needed him the most. 2Ti 4:10
In fact, this journey is not a small thing to pass by, but if someone has ever succeeded why can’t you?
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2Ti 4:7-8
Let Us Lay Aside Every Weight
This is through a disciplinary diet, laid aside by candidates for the prize in racing. So, carnal and worldly lusts, and all, whether from without or within, that would hold us back in running the heavenly race, are the spiritual weight to be laid aside. All excessive weight; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and even harmless and otherwise useful things which would positively retard us should be done away with all discipline in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone has a weight of some sort of which, if he can run the race so well, he would need to lay aside. This means that we should remove all which would obstruct our progress in the Christian course. Thus it is fair to apply it to whatever would be a hindrance in our efforts to win the crown of life. It is not the same thing in all persons. In one it may be pride, in another, vanity in another, worldliness, in another, a violent and almost ungovernable temper; in another, a corrupt imagination, in another, a heavy, leaden, insensible heart; in another, some improper and unholy attachment. A friend of yours can even be the heaviest wait to ever impede you in the race; more especially when he/she is ungodly. Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." 1Co 15:33
Whatever it may be, we are exhorted to lay it aside, and this general direction may be applied to anything which prevents our making the highest possible attainment in the divine life. Some persons would make much more progress if they would throw away many of their personal ornaments, some if they would unburden themselves of the heavy weight of gold which they are attempting to carry with them. Some very light objects, in themselves considered, become material hindrances. Even a feather or a ring may become such a weight that they will never make much progress towards the prize.
So it is generally understood that the world, its riches, honors, pleasures, preferment, which oftentimes are a peculiar obstacle to steadiness and perseverance in the profession and practice of Christianity; this dead weight must be laid aside by controlling our hearts and affections towards the world, for it is excessive love to these things which gives them their weight and hindrances. Where this grace is in its due exercise, the world cannot influence the mind into any disorder, nor make it unready for its race. We are to run the race without allowing ourselves to be hindered by any obstructions, and without giving out or fainting in the way. Encouraged by the example of the multitudes that have run the same race before us, we are to persevere as they did to the end.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, 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, 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Heb 12:1-3
Lay every wait aside and complete your journey!