Christmas is over and the new year is right around the corner. It’s the season of resolutions and broken promises. Please don’t take that to mean that I am against resolutions. Resolutions can be helpful but we can fail at them a thousand times a month, and all of that failing is covered by grace. But in our quest to better our kingdom we need to seek first His kingdom and wisdom for life. The most important thing to remember everyday of the year is to “look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…” Hebrews 12:1-2a
One of my favorite quotes from our dear sister in Christ, Corrie Ten Boom
, says, “If you look to the world you’ll be distressed. If you look within you’ll be depressed. If you look to God you’ll be at rest.”
Do you want a distressing year? Then seek what the world has to offer you for peace and satisfaction. Do you want a depressing year? Then look to yourself and what you can accomplish on your own. Obviously none of us want a distressing and depressing year. We want to live in peace, placing our hope and trust in Jesus. If we truly want His peace then I am convinced that we must place our focus on Him (the founder and perfecter of our faith) and on “laying aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.”
He knows there are a million different things that threaten to hold us back and weigh us down. He calls us to lay them down. Lay down your worries and problems. Lay down your habits, good and bad. Lay down all your dreams for the better dream of knowing Him.
The author of Hebrews places a specific emphasis on the “sin which clings so closely.”
As we walk with Jesus we should always be changing and growing and it makes sense for us to begin with the sin on the outskirts of our lives. The sins we have already wished to be freed from and by all means there is nothing wrong with that. In the business of laying aside “every weight and sin”
every little thing counts. But the reason for this emphasis, “clings so closely”
, is that every sin has a source rooted in an ungodly characteristic. It’s these ungodly characteristics that cling to us. They linger throughout each day, often dismissed as something that makes us who we are.
Have you ever broken a bad habit in your life only for it to be replaced with something else? That’s because we aren’t naturally inclined to dig deeper and remove sin at the source, but that is exactly what this verse calls us to do. I will give you an example. I have an issue with irritability and complaining in my life, both of which have their root in selfishness. Now I could reschedule my day to avoid triggers to outbursts and complaining and I could make sure I always have a snack on hand to avoid hanger (hungry/anger). These things would help but ultimately my problem isn’t the frustrations of my life, it’s the fact that I consistently and relentlessly think about myself (pride). In order to permanently remove irritability and complaining from my life, the selfishness has to go. This will not be easy but it’s where God has been leading me all along, to a change of heart. His ultimate concern for our lives is not a change of circumstance, or even a change in behavior. His greatest desire for us is a change of heart because true freedom is the ability to, without sin, live from the bottom of your heart! So let us run this race with endurance, purpose and passion!