Strength through Hebrews 12

Running the Race to Peace

Hebrews 12:1 January 20, 2011

Filed under: Strength of Spirit — heb121 @ 5:55 pm
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God Disciplines His Sons

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (biblestudytools.com)

12:1 What should you be aware of? What should you stop doing? What should you do? (easyenglish.info)

I should be aware of the “great cloud of witnesses” meaning those who are watching me. As a teacher, this is very important because my students will respond to me based on how I present myself— if I lie and deceive, they will lie and deceive— as the disciple of Christ, I must remember to reflect HIS teachings and HIS way of being and be careful not to lead a sinful way of life.

I should “throw off everything that hinders me and the sin that so easily entangles” which means to remove weight and avoid behaviors that are displeasing to God. The Voice Bible Studies website states that removing the weight is akin to a competitive runner–  “If the race is to be run successfully the runner must lay aside every weight….Every ounce of excess weight is stripped off and the runner is streamlined to perform with maximum efficiency.”  I really like this interpretation because as a PE teacher, and hopeful runner again, I can completely relate. If I was to go out for a run today, I would be wheezing within the first 5 minutes–I have put on too much weight and my conditioning is terrible. The same thing is true of my students who do not get enough activity outside of school; their mile times and other fitness scores reflect their BMI and effort in class. Just as runners do not compete in marathons while carrying a load of bricks, Christians cannot do the work of Christ if they are “weighted down” by sin.

Instead, I should run the race with perseverance meaning I should not give up (or give in to sin). I must be continually faithful and not just in those times when I most need God’s help— reaching out to God should occur more often than when in times of trouble. Too often I find myself saying I will be more “Christian” if __________.  There should be no “if” in my thinking. “If” is simply a way of giving up because I can use it as an excuse when things don’t work out they way I want. “Regardless of the pressure (troubles), the race must be run patiently enduring until the end. The promise of 1 Corinthians 10:13 is that God will enable us to bear whatever pressure there is.” (crivoice.org, additional mine)

Lord, I come to You a humbled woman. It has been too long since I have read Your word or come to You for clarity in life. How amazing You are to provide exactly what I need, when I need it, even when I don’t know I do. Thank you, Lord, for never giving up on us; guide me in the direction I need to go and I will obey. Help me to avoid all or nothing thinking and believing the lies of sin. Thank you for loving me!

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Spirit Training January 14, 2011

Filed under: Strength of Spirit — heb121 @ 9:58 am
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The body is being cleansed, the mind is being challenged, now it is time to strengthen my spirit… and right now, I am definitely weak of spirit. 

I consider myself a Christian; I believe that Christ died for my sins to give me life and I can feel God’s power in my life when I am receptive to it– notice I said, “when.” For the last year or two, I have not been receptive nor have I cared to do much about it, but, oh, how I miss the Lord’s presence in my life. It’s very much a split brain personality: half of me cries out to God and wants Him daily in my life, wants to experience His greatness; and the other half could care less and thinks it’s all a waste of energy. I am constantly fighting with myself each weekend with the God-loving half begging to go to Saturday night service and the God-complacent half encouraging me to pour another glass of wine and watch TV– obviously you can guess which side wins (I could repane all the windows in my house with the recycled glass from the bottles I’ve consumed). But enough of my dueling duality! It is not enough to strengthen my “feeble arms and weak knees,” I must also “make every effort to live in peace…and be holy.”