Working on a new bible study has given me some things to think about. By reading and really studying the root meaning I get a whole new perspective on what God wants from me.
Heb 12:1 NLT
"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 hinders our progress and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us."
Am I holding on to sin that hinders my witness? I think so. People around me either see God in me or my sin nature. When I allow my selfish nature to take over, I fail. I am just like everyone else and I don't allow God's light to shine through me. I complain about the trials that I am faced with instead of being able to see past them and trust that God has something to show me or those around me.
"Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith"
Everything I do and say, someone, somewhere is watching me. Weather it be friends, family, or even just a stranger on the street, there is a multitude of people that are a witness to my behavior. When I am standing strong in the faith, God is lifted up and glorified. When I complain, get angry, lose control or compromise my faith, I give the scoffers something to talk about. I allow people to believe that Jesus is less then He really is and give Him a bad name. I already have what it takes to live correctly but I don't always choose to put it into action.
"Let us strip off every weight that slows us down"
Every means just that, Every. All of them, not just the ones that I am willing to let go of. The sin that we want to hold onto actually holds on to us. Weighs us down to the point that we get tired more easily. I think about the Biggest Loser episode that I saw that showed the contestant trying to army crawl under the other contestants. As they made their way from one to the other, the contestants that were above were instructed to place some of their weight on the one trying to get under them. Imagine yourself as that contestant. You are trying with all your might to crawl just another few feet but the weight that is above you is holding you down. Wow, what a burden that is. Yes, we will become stronger if we can make it through but we are going to be exhausted by the time we get there. When we take that weight (our sin) and give it over to God fully and completely, He gives us the strength to go further and do more for Him.
That would include the burden of any trial that I am under. I can choose to try and do it myself and get worn out, battered and bruised over it, all the while getting a little stronger if I make it to the other side or I can choose to believe that through the trial, I will get closer to God and give it over to Him so that when I am on the other side, I am refreshed and feeling stronger because I allowed Him to be there to carry me through it.
"Especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress"
Even more then when I am not allowing God to be the Lord in my life is when I refuse to let go of the Sin that I hold onto. Whether it be anger, disobedience, unwholesome thoughts, speaking or actions, gluttony, or a number of other sins that I could be holding onto, the knowledge that by my actions, I hinder what God has for me is an eye opening and sobering thought for me. I want to be used by God and when I can't let go, I am useless. God may have to break me a little to get me to comply. The more I spend with Him the more I can see what He wants of me. Weather it be reading His word, praising Him, on my knees praying for guidance I need to spend time with Him like I would want to do with the love of my life. I don't want God to become just an acquaintance, I want Him to be my Lord.
"and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us."
This should be like the race of my life. The root word means haste or to spend ones strength to attain something, being steadfast and consistent, not swayed even by the greatest trials in life. I have been called an over achiever at school 3 times this year by different people. If I were to exert the same energy serving the Lord and seeking out what He wants of me, what a great relationship I would have with Him. I never really doubt God and His ability in my life but many times my actions or words do not convey that truth. I don't get on my knees like I should, I just assume that God will take care of things without me asking. If I want to have a good relationship with my husband, I need to talk to him. If I just went through life believing that he always knew what I wanted but I didn't talk to him, there would be a huge disconnect in our marriage.
That is the same with my Lord. Even though He does know what I need and want even when I don't ask Him, His desire is that I know Him (He already knows me). My prayers, reading the word, seeking the Holy Spirit to guide me is all for my benefit not His. In order to be able to fully let go of my old self, I need to wrap myself in His truth. Lord help me to finish the race that YOU have set before me.