Last week I asked you to start prepare your heart for the journey that we are going to take through Hebrews 12. What weights was God showing you that you needed to let go? Was it a wound your friend or loved one gave you? How about pride? Did someone step into your territory and upset you? It could be shame from a past sin or the feelings of defeat from a current one. We each have weights that are slowing us down. And if we do not grab hold of these thoughts or actions and make them obedient to the Word of God, they will slowly but surely take us out. If you were unable to find the time to sit with God, I encourage you to figure out a time in the next day where you can spend a few minutes in prayer. It will be worth it. Trust me!
I have found that it helps me to stick with a project if I keep the goal always on my mind. This verse is our mission statement as we embark on this journey. This is what we are trying to accomplish. I encourage you to post this somewhere in your home where you will see it to remind you to keep this always on your mind.
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.
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
So where do we begin? I believe the first thing that we have to do to accomplish our goal is to focus.
In Hebrews 12:2 it reminds us:
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
Hebrews 12:2 (NLT)
We need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, not on our circumstances. This takes discipline and constant reminders. The only way we can maintain our endurance is by keeping our eyes focused on Jesus. If we allow our eyes to wander, we will be opening the door for Satan to plant seeds of failure, fear and anxiety.
I am reminded of the story of Peter walking on the water. He stayed on top of the water as long as he kept his eyes focused on Jesus. But as soon as he took his eyes off Jesus and started to focus on the waves (his circumstances), he began to sink. (Matthew 14:22-33)
We need to be confident in who God is and what He will do in our lives. God is faithful and loving. He is our provider, defender, healer, and battle fighter. What character trait of God do you need to focus on as you learn how to remove the weight that is slowing you down?
The second part of Hebrews 12:2 reminds us of the most precious gift given to us. Jesus chose to die a hard painful death so that we can be free from our sins. He lovingly chose to take the punishment that we deserved so that we do not have to pay the penalty. So why are we walking around with guilt and shame? One major way to overcome our sins and struggles in this life is to receive and walk in the gift of life that has already been given us. We do not deserve this gift. We deserve to be punished for our sins, but God loved us so much that He put a plan in place to save us. All we have to do is acknowledge our sins and allow God to wash our slate clean and then NOT pick it up again. God does not want us to walk around with condemnation and guilt. He wants us to walk around as righteous, redeemed men and women because that is how He sees us. We are the righteousness of Christ – believe it, walk in it!
Our Mile 1 Challenge this Week:
So this week I have an assignment for you. Find a notebook or journal that will allow you to keep all your thoughts in one place. On the first page I want you put at the top: “My Goal”. Then write out Hebrews 12:1.
On the second page write the title “Weights.” Then I want you to write down the weights that you are holding on to. Ask God what weights are there and really wait for Him to tell you. Listen! Write down anything that comes to mind; you can always scribble it out later if you were off track. You can also come back to this page and add to it as God continues to reveal new things to you.
On the third page I want you to make of list of who God is to you. Title this page, “God is…” Write out the character traits of God that are most important to you. Keep your “weights” in mind as you come up with your list. Even if you doubt God to fulfill that character trait in your mind, write it down. Then write out Bible verses that come to mind that remind you of these different character traits.
On the fourth page I want you to write the title, “I am Holy, Righteous and Redeemed.” Then I want you to read our blog post on the Breastplate of Righteousness. Then pick a few of the verses that speak truth to your heart and write them on this page. Feel free to come up with your own. Now when Satan tries to fill your mind with doubt and guilt, you can go to this page and remind him of who you are in Christ. Your value and worth is in how God sees you, not man! (Also read this post.)
This is a lot to do but it is the foundation that we need to keep us going as we take the next steps in the journey. Meditate on these pages for the next week and I will meet you back here to discuss our next step.
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