Life In Christ Bible Study
Topic: What kind of Baggage Do you Carry?
Presented by Michael Webb
Scripture References: Hebrews 12:1-3, Philippians 4:13
September 19, 2020


Have you ever considered how the intangible baggage of past experiences and personal sin hinder your journey with Christ?  Hebrews 12:1-3 compares the Christian life to a race and encourages believers to “lay aside” those things that impede their progress. The baggage in our spiritual lives isn’t

always easy to recognize, even though it leads to unhappiness and feelings of inadequacy and defeat. Oftentimes, our efforts to change fail, and after confessing the same sins, we find ourselves falling right back into them. In order to victoriously run the course God has planned, we must identify what hinders us and lay it down with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Identifying Our Baggage

There are two different words in Hebrews 12:1 that describe the things that slow us down and create obstacles in our lives. They are:

Encumbrance. This is anything that keeps us from effectively living the Christian life. An encumbrance can come in many forms, but the most common ones that cause believers to falter are:

  • A poor self-image. Negative comments can cause us to doubt our value, especially if we experience stern criticism when we’re young.
  • A defeatist attitude. If we feel we’re beaten down by our circumstances, we’ll never try.
  • Feelings of rejection. Being devalued by others hurts and leaves us feeling unwanted.
  • Perfectionism. If we think everything must be done flawlessly, we won’t try anything we
  • can’t do well.
  • A fear of failure. We’ll miss wonderful opportunities from God if we let anxiety
  • hinder us.
  • Procrastination. Putting off tasks keeps us from accomplishing what needs to be done.
  • A lack of self-control. If we can’t restrain our impulses, we’re easily led off track.
  • A lack of concentration. When our minds drift from one activity to another, we won’t accomplish much in life.
  • A negative attitude. Pessimism hinders our thinking and has a negative impact on our work and relationships.
  • A suspicious attitude. Being mistrustful of others’ motives keeps us from accepting love and friendship.
  • Indecision. An inability to make decisions prevents us from moving forward.
  • Sin. The second hindrance is “the sin which so easily entangles us” (Heb. 12:1). This does not mean sin in the general sense of the word but instead refers to a specific one, an area of weakness that:
      • Requires us to be continually on guard.
      • Often snares us because it’s tempting and difficult to resist.
      • Divides our minds when we think about it.
      • Hinders our relationships with others
      • Surfaces when we pray
      • Strikes at our self-respect
      • Breaks our fellowship with God

All believers have certain sins that weigh them down more than others. they include:

  • Unforgiveness. When we can’t let go of past hurts, it damages us and hinders us
  • A critical spirit. If all we do is criticize, we hurt others and ourselves.
  • A jealous spirit. Craving what others have often leads to unhappiness.
  • Greed. A desire for more leads us to take advantage of others to get what we want.
  • Pride. God hates it when we are conceited about our social standing, possessions, or physical appearance.
  • Deceit. habitually lying or telling half-truths makes us deceptive.
  • Lust. When love is replaced by lust, our desire is out of control.
  • Unbelief. Although we may claim to believe the Bible, we’re often unwilling to trust in God to provide for our needs.
  • Anger. Perpetual anger robs us of happiness and destroys our relationships.
  • Bitterness. This poison infiltrates our thinking and prevents us from giving
    and receiving love.
  • Slander. Spreading lies about others makes us malicious and destructive.
  • Love of Money. A continuous desire for wealth easily trips us up
  • Idolatry. Whatever we place before our heavenly Father is a false idol.


The Lord has planned the best race for each of us. However, we can’t win and fulfill His plan until every hindrance is laid aside. We don’t have to carry heavy spiritual burdens and continue failing in our efforts to overcome the sin in our lives because God is ready to set us free if we’ll believe in Him. By faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we must make a conscious choice to do away with whatever is displeasing to Him. It’s only when we finally unload it all and fix our eyes on Jesus that we will truly be able to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1)


Scripture References: The Race of Faith

Hebrews 12:1-3, 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 us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the [a]author and [b]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. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.