Leon Fontaine - Take the Load Off
Hey, everyone! It's so good to have you with us again today, got a great topic I wanna talk to you about how to live your life with the sense of freedom and this lightness. Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I wanna talk about that because so many people will tell me, "Oh, this Christian life is so hard. And don't you dare say serving Jesus is easy". Well, actually the Bible does say that. Jesus says that. And so will there be time that we have to stand strong? Yes. But let's not get our belief systems over where serving God is so hard. Because the Bible teaches us that everyone in the New Testament even when they went through hard times, there was a joy and a peace that was about them, a faith that took them through.
So today, let me help you with this as you live your life or as Hebrews 12 teaches us as you run the race of faith. This is running your destiny. This is walking out your life. And an incredible teaching is here to the Hebrews and let's just dive in and I'm gonna teach and I just kind of expound to all of it and help you understand some of things that is being taught to us. "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 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".
All right. Here's Jesus dying on the cross, going through incredible pain and He became sin. And the Bible says the way He handled it was there was this joy that was set before Him. What was this joy? That people would be forgiven become born-again and heaven would be populated with billions of people. That as He died for mankind, that they would, God when He get to have a relationship with them as never before. That we could have Him in our hearts, sense Him, know Him, love Him, be loved. I mean, this joy of all that He was suffering for, what He was going through was so worth it for Him. He counted it as joy. And this is important in our lives when things get hard, when things have battles and trials and tribulations.
You begin to go, "What's the purpose of this"? If you got a strong sense of serving God, advancing His kingdom, being involved in a great local church. Man, this joy will take you through. And I know what I'm talking about I've been pastoring now for between 30 to 40 years. I mean it's like 36 years I've been preaching God's Word and pastoring in His local church. I'm more excited ever before. I can tell you stories, a ton of them of people abandoning me, betraying me, lying about me, and all the things that have going on you can understand and I'm more excited about Jesus I've ever been. So when you have this joy that is set before you. This vision it's crucial.
Now, here's what it says, lay aside also every weight. Now, what are weights? Weights are things that slow you down. Weights are things that, they might not even be necessarily bad. But it's slowing down your race. It's impacting your life. I'll give you an example. A friend of mine, great dad, great husband, loves God. But oh, yeah, he got a passion for golf. And he would golf, I mean, every couple of days gone golfing, gone golfing, gone golfing. And, you know, his wife didn't like him being gone this much and his kids didn't enjoy him being gone this much. And he come home and then they may continue the arguments and it just caused stress and things in his marriage. And his kids were having struggles because dad wasn't there as much as they want him to.
And he literally just told me, "Leon, I love golf". But he says, "As I'm doing it this much it seems to slow down. It seems to weigh down the joy of family and marriage. And so I'm cutting this back, we had a talk and I'm only gonna do minimum or the maximum once a week". And they picked out something that works for their family and then he was gonna go home. And his buddies all told him, "What are you doing? Are you crazy? This is your joy. This is your passion". And he said, "No". He said, "God is my passion and my priorities are my wife, my children". And so he begin to get more involved in seeing things, going to his kids races and games and driving and hanging out with his wife more. And his whole life just got so exciting and joyful and fun.
There was a bounce in his step and he said, and why? Because something he was doing was weighing down this race of serving God, having a great marriage, a great family. It can be other things. For example, like habits that you've got. It could be beliefs that you've got. I believe that a lot of these weights you could see them as sin because the word sin means that it is missing the mark. You're doing something that misses the mark for God's best. So sin doesn't have to be your an ax murderer, your an adulterer, your lying, your cheating. All of that will definitely will shut down your race and hurt it big time. But what I'm saying is that there are weights and sins. And so sin, we often see the word sin as this, "Holy man! This is brutal"? No. Sin, in its, in one of the most common word used for sin means that in something you're doing you're missing the mark of God's best for your life.
So he was enjoying golf but God had something better that would bring even greater joy and it would help him shape his marriage and prepare his kids for a wonderful life. I know many dads today, going back to the same analogy. I'm not preaching, and this is analogy. I know many dads today that as their kids grow up and they see the decisions they make and the things that are missing in their lives. They go back, "Oh, man. I wish I spent more time". I know other guys who, they just let the office guide them around. And they spend almost every evening because some boss, narcissistic boss wants this done, and they make that guy stay at his desk day in and day out and he misses his wife and his family. And see, that's wrong. That weight. That decision.
So well, Leon, what's he gonna do? You would begin to pray, believe. Look for another job or let God guide you in speaking to him. You know, whatever you can do to change. Do not accept situations that they just kind of weigh you down. You can see this man weigh down as he goes to work and weigh down as he goes home. He's exhausted. He's got no, the kids are already in bed. He's wife's unhappy. She's parenting alone by herself and she's got a job that she's doing as well in so many cases. And their whole life just gets weigh down because the way they're living the life. How they're walking this thing through has become this life is like weighing them down.
And in other cases, you'll notice, it gets worse as he doesn't enjoy his life. He'll get caught up in things that are wrong. Sin. She'll get caught up in things. It could be wrong relationships, addictions to, you know, alcohol, drugs, and pornography. And it just to people, you know, not healthy soul ties it began to go on. All because this life begins to be weighed down. I wanna challenge young men and women watching me, as well as the older. That when you begin to look at doing something that you never would have been tempted for before. Then something in your life is weighing you down. Maybe its because you need to lose your arrogance in your marriage. Maybe it's because you need to stop having always be right and begin to become the husband and the father inside. Become a better believer so that you, the soft answer turns away wrath.
That when you guys are arguing as a couple, that rather than always having to be right. You seek to understand. That person might be using the wrong words and it's irritating you and making you mad as they blame you. But something is being said that you don't understand. You'd rather just fight it out and win. You're not really winning. Your marriage is being weighed down. Your family is being weighed down. Your making decisions that it's like this whole marriage is carrying this load with them. When Jesus said that if you lay aside the weight, your weight of you having to be right, this weight, this immaturity within you. Lay it down. And just say, "I'm gonna be a husband, a father that loves". I'm gonna be one who seeks to understand and help them win and find what they need first even before you.
In our counseling ops so many times man and wife go wild. Oh, I need this and I need that. Basically, love is making sure the other person is look after first before your needs. When I was a child we used to sing the song J-O-Y J-O-Y. Surely it must be Jesus first yourself last and others in between. There is something about love. You see, toxic love means that you will show love when they look after you. And that's how most couples fight this out their entire lives. But then the God kind of love, the agape love is able to show love and to exhibit love and to walk in love which is patience, you know. And people say, "Well, I am. I'm letting them go first, you know". Love is joyful. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love wants the other person to succeed. Love wants them to be happy first.
These people are truly the happiest people. These are principles of God's Word. To not obey God's Word in your relationships is to be weighed down by the things that are going on. The unhappiness that surround you. Now, you can't change everybody in your world, but you need to recognize that if you wanna run your race with joy, run your race with the sense of making great ground. Now, this comparison let's look at it. If you've got a race to run and you've got a 50-pound sack on your back. For those of you who do go camping or, you know, or you've hiked across, you know, Europe. You put a backpack on this 50-pound and show me how long you're gonna run. You can't even run a hundred yards. But for those of you who know how to run, you could run 10, 20 miles at an easy pace.
When you begin to be weighed down, it literally hurts your future. You will not make it into the things God has prepared for you. This is so serious that as others begin to succeed and rise up and are elevated. And the Bible says that the blessings of God is on our lives, but promotion comes from the Lord. He's not gonna promote you to a place in business, in His calling on your life that's gonna bring more pressure on a marriage that already is full of arguments or on a family that the kids are already don't see you enough or on a guy that can't find peace and the stress of the lower level of career. How's he ever gonna handle a higher level, you know, where you've got more things to look after.
So when the Bible say lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares you. Now, not only is this slowing you down, but it uses the word ensnare. Well, the word, a snare is something that as you walk along, you know, we had trappers in northern Saskatchewan where we live for a while as a young man. And they were experts at using traps to trap animals. We catch them by the neck or it catch them by the tail, not tails, by the foot. Oh, we had some gap by the tail. And they would snare that animal and it would hold it in that trap until the hunter could come and get it. There are snares that stop you from moving on in God.
And so I really wanna be very clear here with you. That you, forget about your spouse. You can't change your spouse. Forget about trying to change others or your boss or those around you. If you simply allow Holy Spirit to reveal things, behaviors, habitual thinking. Habits that you have that can be as innocent as to you needed to go golfing all the time. You needed to go play basketball all the time. You gotta go, you know, and just get away all the time. And it really is affecting your family, but you, "Oh, I need this. I need this". I'm just challenging you to be cautious because talk, make sure that you walk in God's love. If there's a sin that ensnares you and nothing seems to be happening for you. I hope I can keep going. Just get rid of that sin. As you do, your life begins to go faster. It succeeds better. There's more joy. There's a lightness that is just beautiful to you as you lay aside weights and sins which so easily ensnare you. And then run the weight race with endurance.
Let's talk about endurance. I listened to people all the time and this is the words that come out of their mouth. "Oh, I'm confused. Oh, I'm just so feed up. I'm just sick and tired. Oh, man, I'm tired. I'm just feed up". And these words shall show somebody that has no endurance for today. Okay? And today, what about tomorrow? And so endurance is the ability to continue doing what you're doing with joy and with peace. And so as you lay aside the weights, as you lay aside which can be just bad habits. Let me give you another example. You have to watch late at night movies and all things and you don't wanna go to bed and so you're staying up late and your exhausted all the time. It's as simple as that bad habit. Get a good sleep and you're gonna find yourself laughing and happy. It's not that that's a sin. It's a weight. But yet in a way it is a sin because a sin is missing the mark for God's best. And He says He gives His beloved sleep.
So the Bible says whatever is not of faith is sin. So when things begins to push at you, get up and believe God and get that thing out of your life. We want endurance with the race that is set before us. Then it says looking unto Jesus as the author and the finisher of our faith. Let's stop right there. Did you know, that everything you do, you should do in faith. When you get married, Jesus as the author of that marriage. Let Him be the finisher until you're old and grey, happy and blessed. You're believing God for increase in finances. Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith. So all that you do, use faith to be a better spouse, parent, to be a better employee, to rise up and succeed in life. Use your faith to laugh and love and enjoy the life that you've got. Don't allow the enemy to come in. Look to Jesus and this expectancy. This be a living.
The future is gonna be great, is there or if you don't get into your faith life your endurance you'll just be every day seeing the negative, what's bad, what's wrong, what's going wrong. You'll just see all of that in your life. And by the way, it will lead you off course. You will literally leave your lane and your race as you pursue other things that you think you need, but really, it's the weariness. It's your lack of endurance. And so now, you're not even got the joy and the peace that passes understanding. There's not a lightness to you. All of these things God's prepared away just obey Him. It goes on and it says that consider Him in Hebrews 12, "Who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons".
Stop right there, okay. So it's really interesting. Here in this portion of scripture, it says that Jesus endured when people were hostile against Him, so you don't be weary. Now He's saying, what do you do when everything seems to be going good and all of a sudden someone take you on, lies about you, tries to stop you, fires you, influences something, makes your life hell, makes your life hard. Don't let that discourage you. Don't let that get you down. Don't let that, "What did I do wrong"? In other verse says don't think it weird when you got fiery trials and tribulations. Why? There are people on this planet who are jealous. They are literally motivated by the enemy. They'll come against us, betray us, walk away from us.
You say, "Leon, you're confessing all these things". No, I'm not. I believed in my life. I got the favor of God that no weapon form against me will prosper and every mouth that rise against me I put it down. That God's bringing everyone that I need on to this team, my family, my friendship, our church, our television, our future. I believed all those things, but I also know on this planet there are people that I cannot force to do that. And so I'm not gonna get all out of sorts when things aren't going right and someone's coming against me. Because it says consider him who endured all this hostile people lest you become weary. Why would you become weary? Because you're experiencing some hostile people. You keep confessing that nothing can stop you. The blessing of God is upon you. But the biggest thing that the enemy's doing, he's trying to get you to talk about it, worry about it. They're always going on. And all you do is chat about the negative people in your life instead of the many amazing wonderful relationships you've got in your church, in your business, in your family, in your home.
It's amazing this portion of scripture how it's showing us how to run and to lay aside weights, and His yoke to be easy and His burden to be light. And just to love the life you've got even with all the things that are going on. Now, let's see if we've got time for the next point. I just jump into it and we just, we'll quit when we have to. But it says here, "And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when He rebukes you. For whom the Lord loves He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives.' If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons, for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons".
All right. Let's stop right there. This is a situation where the church has gotten off of good teaching. They have used this because the word scourge means to beat with the rod and the word chasten means to correct. And so they think now that God's going to allow sickness, disease, bankruptcy. He's gonna cause things to happen you or at least allow things to happen to you to teach you, but none of this is correct. The Bible teaches us very clearly that the scriptures are given by inspiration of God and are profitable to teach you, encourage you, rebuke you. When God is chastening, rebuking, correcting you for something, He's doing it through His Word. It's God's Word. That's why you get all of God's Word on the inside. And the second you begin to get off course God's Word rises, "Oh, I can't do it. Oh, I'm so sorry, hon. I should never have said that".
The Word rises up in you. And as you get God's Word and renew your mind and establish your heart in grace, all of God's Word coming in. It's the Word that speaks to you and guide you. I've never found a sickness, a financial problem, someone coming against me and go, "God's allowing this to teach me something". That's not how He works. God speaks to us and corrects us through His Word. Now, if you have a situation where something's gone wrong and you say, "Man, I broke my leg. I ended up in the hospital. I witnessed the three guys. It slowed me down, help me fixed my marriage. I was with my kids more. My leg was broken so bad. I did a wonderful year. I wouldn't trade that broken leg for anything". And you think God allowed it. Okay, no. First of all, in Romans 8 it teaches us that God will cause all things to work together for good. It doesn't say God causes the things to you and then work. It just says God causes all things.
So when sometimes when things go wrong and through every day. You shouldn't jump off the first story, you know, second story roof and you broke your leg. And it wasn't God. It wasn't even the devil. Life's got stuff. Sometimes it can be a demonic interference. But when things are going on, God still gets involved and causes good things to come out of it. So I'm glad for that. All right. But God is not allowing those things to do that to teach you something. You've got to really understand that He speaks to you through His Word. And yes, if things get off course and you break your leg. You get sick for a while. You make mistakes. It takes your life into a hard time. That God works with you and He causes all things to work together for good. And that's not just for everybody. That's for those who are called according to His purpose. That's right after that verse that says when you don't how to pray Holy Spirit takes hold of that with you, praying with you.
So He's talking about a praying believer. He's talking about a believer who prays over his future, his passion, his purpose. That this kind of believer who's hooked up to God. Don't worry even if you miss it. Even if something goes wrong and you get off course or something gets taken away for a while that you know it's God's will to have. You keep believing because it will come around. And God will cause all things that the enemy meant for harm, He'll cause it to work together for good. I really wanna encourage you today to make sure that you're running your race and go to Hebrews 12 on your own verses 1 and on. Let it encourage you and instruct you on things. Take your time this weekend and let God guide you to a life that is light. My yoke is easy, and my burden is light. And the joy of the Lord is your strength. It's a joy unspeakable, full of glory, a peace that passes understanding. These are yours all the time. If that's not happening, then God's Word will show you how to get to that place. God bless you.