The Discipline of Elimination

Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely.
Hebrews 12:1

Neither the Lord Jesus Christ, the Apostles, nor the first-century Christians could live a successful and faithful life without eliminating everything and anything that might hinder their calling. Thus Jesus warned his followers: “If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matt. 18:8-9).

Again, concerned with the fleshly impediments that he knew would prevent them from growing in the grace and knowledge of God as they should, the inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote these words to languishing believers: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely” (Heb. 12:1).

I well remember hearing the news as a young boy in 1954, that the four-minute mile barrier was broken. Olympic runner Roger Bannister broke the tape in record time—3:59.4. How did he do it? Every notable athlete competes successfully by eliminating everything that prevents him from his calling and goal. One can’t go everywhere, do everything, enjoy every food, stay up all hours of the night, and set a record like Bannister did.

Jerome (342-420) was a master of classical learning—his age’s best Latin writer, some have said. He had a passion for scholarship and devoured the works of pagan thinkers. As a Christian, Jerome was troubled by his failure to implement worthwhile priorities. Historians say he preferred the cultured style of Cicero and other rhetoricians to the plain, and—what he considered to be—clumsy style of the language of the Bible. However, a transforming event changed Jerome. One historian records: “In Antioch, he had a feverish dream in which Christ scourged him and accused him, ‘You are a Ciceronian, and not a Christian.’ Jerome vowed not to study pagan books again.”*

Is there something you need to eliminate from your life in order to serve our Lord more faithfully, fruitfully, and effectively?

*“Christian History” (Worchester, PA: Christian History Institute), 80:3.

Taken from . . .
Renewed by the Spirit: 365 Daily Meditations
by Ralph I. Tilley
copyright © 2016 Ralph I. Tilley
(May be copied for noncommercial purposes,
not to exceed 500 copies.)

Author: Ralph I. Tilley

I joyfully identify with the long history of the orthodox, evangelical stream of the Church. Theologically, I am a conservative. On issues of secondary importance, I will not quibble with my brothers and sisters in Christ. We are called to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” I would hope I have no doctrinal biases; however, I realize that is a practical impossibility: “Now I know in part.” You can read more on the About page.