Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.
I spent last night in my Bible studying Hebrews 12:1-13 which is entitled, “God’s Discipline Proves His Love.” Of course this caused me a fair amount of anxiety because I had just posted, “Fiery Lake,” yesterday. I thought I had my immediate course all figured out. He does keep me on my toes!
The interpretation to Hebrews 12:1 (NLT) says this:
Their (huge crowd of witnesses) faithfulness is a constant encouragement to us. We do not struggle alone, and we are not the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run the race and won and their witness stirs us to run and win also. What an inspiring heritage we have!
This morning the Holy Spirit woke me at 4 AM. I felt as if I should get up, make my coffee, and spend time in my Bible.That was my plan anyway. I did climb out of bed but I made it as far as the kettle but then quickly (without even thinking) detoured to the dining room table. This is where my stash of chocolate was strewn about. All sorts of little gems…Milky Way, Twix, and Snickers. For the past few days, I’ve done nothing but mindlessly shovel these in. I instantly grabbed them and chucked them into the garbage. I felt somewhat sad and thought to myself:
“What if I need these later today?”
What a ridiculous thought but it is true! When has chocolate been a help? I can’t seem to recall a time that I felt saved by it’s sweet taste. Maybe the initial bite is “heaven sent” but it’s only a mirage, instant gratification.
The second part (Interpretation) of Hebrews 12:1 says this:
Long-distance runners work hard to build endurance and strength. On race day, their clothes are light-weight and their bodies lean. To run the race that God has set before us, we must also strip off the excess weight that slows us down. How can we do that?
Hebrews goes on to suggest the following:
Choose friends who are also committed to the race. Wrong friends will have values and activities that may deter you from the course. Much of your own weight may result from the crowd you run with.
Drop certain activities.
Get help for addictions that DISABLE you. If you have a secret “weight” such as pornography, gambling, or alcohol, admit your need for help and get help today.
Nowhere does it mention food! I’m thinking to myself:
“I’m not addicted to sugar? Am I? How preposterous!!”
After much thought, I realized that it is true. After an indulgence, I am disabled. This is an extra weight, not only physically and mentally but spiritually. This makes me sad for two reasons. First, I’m sad because I love sweets and moderation is pretty much impossible. Sugar is an all or nothing event! Second, I thought from yesterday’s post that I had “food” figured out. Evidently not, because Someone faithfully woke me this morning and told me to throw it all out!
Moving on to Hebrews 12:1-4:
The Christian life involves hard work. It requires us to give up whatever ENDANGERS our relationship with God, to run with endurance, and to struggle against sin with the power of the Holy Spirit. To live effectively, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We will stumble if we look away from Him to stare at ourselves or at the circumstances surrounding us. We should be running for Christ, not ourselves, and we must always keep Him in sight.
When we face hardship and discouragement, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. But we’re not alone; there is help.
There is no way that I could have run any race last night. I barely made it to the bathroom to brush my teeth and get ready for bed! I was discouraged and I did lose sight of the big picture. I did, however, ask for help. He faithfully sat beside me and walked me through Hebrews 5. I feel a great need to share God’s wisdom with you. It also reiterates to me the gift that I received before I turned my light out last night.
We are coming to a close! I know it’s a tremendous amount of divine information, so hang in with me. Let’s look at Hebrews 12:5-13
When God corrects you, see it as proof of His love, and ask Him what He is trying to teach you.
God is not only a disciplining parent but also a demanding coach who pushes us to our limits and requires our lives to be disciplined. Although, we may not feel strong enough to push on to victory we will be able to accomplish it as we follow Christ and draw on His strength.
This part is important and it’s His last point:
Then we can use our growing strength to help those around us who are weak and struggling.
We must not live with only our own survival in mind. Others will follow our example, and we have a responsibility to them if we are living for Christ, as we claim to be. Does your example make it easier for others to believe in and follow Christ, and to mature in Him? Or would those who follow you end up confused and misled?
If we went by my performance this past week or so, people would be wildly confused! I imagine my own confusion is showing up in my posts but that is the beauty and strength of God. We all take wrong turns. We all get involved in things that aren’t in our best interests. The Love of God is always available. And since His love is so great for us, He will continually redirect and move us to where He needs us to be. I like this! Give me the control and all hell breaks loose! It is good to give Him the control. He will never lead us astray!!
Merry Christmas and Peace be with You!!
I dedicate this post to M.B. for gifting me with a Life Application Study Bible back in 2006. I thank you for your faithful friendship. You are my sister in Christ and I pray the Lord blesses you beyond your wildest imagination! I love you!!