Monday, January 11, 2016

Lose Your Baggage

Today’s verse that I have looked at in my church devotions is Hebrews 12:1:
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could 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,"

We are encouraged to search ourselves to find what in our life is hindering and entangling us and therefore is “baggage" in our life that we need to let go.

 I love to read verses in context to get the full meaning of a verse. The books of the Bible were not originally written with chapters and verses, so I decided to look at Chapter 11, especially since our verse begins with “therefore” indicating that it is pertaining to what came before it.

In Context


Hebrews 11 is known as the chapter of the Bible that defines faith by giving a definition (“faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”) and providing many examples of people from the Old Testament who showed godly character of faith. Toward the end of Chapter 11 we learn that many believers had to endure being persecuted for their faith. They were
stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheep skins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented ... They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.” (Hebrews 11:37-38)
Then it end with saying,
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (Hebrews 11: 39-40)
So we see that even after being persecuted on earth for their faith, they did not get to realize God’s promises to them in this temporal life on earth, but went on to eternal life which was certainly much better. This life is the kind of life that God also offers to us.

How many people would be saved today in our culture if Hebrews 11 was read before the invitation was given at church? How many would sign up for a relationship with Jesus fully knowing that it included being willing to be persecuted and to never know God’s promises in a physical way but to only possess Him and His goodness spiritually?

We all need to examine ourself and allow God to examine our own heart in light of these verses.

Let us re-read the last portion of Hebrews 11 and let it flow into the beginning of Hebrews 12.  Here it is:
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” (Hebrews 11: 39-40)
 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could 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,” (Hebrews 12:1)

Understanding 


Doesn’t this way of reading the Bible really expand the meaning of a verse and make its meaning so much clearer? It does for me.

We absolutely can see that the “great cloud of witnesses” is both those who have died as heroes of faith, those spoken about in Chapter 11 which basically includes believers in God who acted on his behalf while living on earth, and people who remained faithful to God regardless of the persecution. We are blessed to be considered worthy of this group! The same group that the world did not consider worthy. Let that be a strong reminder to you that you will not be thought of too highly by the world, and this makes you belong to a great group of people that includes Jesus!

Being sold out to God, and prepared to endure whatever may come our way because of our faith, it is just obvious that we are going to be the kind of people who will throw off everything that hinders our walk with God and entangles in sin because we want to be able to RUN with perseverance in what God has called for us to do. He already has the race marked out for us; we simply need to be ready to run it with perseverance. We can’t let anything get in our way, or anyone. When God calls, we need to be ready to arise, go, and get busy with His work.

But we have more! The sentence that begins in Hebrews 12:1 does not end there; it continues into verse 2. Verse 1 ends with a comma so we need to keep on reading to get the completed thought God is speaking to us.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could 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,” (Hebrews 12:1)
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame,
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
We not only have the past saints that were faithful but we can be encouraged by Jesus who himself showed us the perfect example of faithfulness to God. Jesus strived against sin, resisting it to bloodshed. Matter of fact two verses later Hebrews 12:4 reminds us of just this, “You have not resisted to bloodshed striving against sin” like Jesus did. 1 Corinthians says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be temped beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 


Applying


God provides for us in two ways: he gives us a way of escape when we are tempted by sin and he is ready to forgive us as soon as we commit a sin so that we should confess and sin no more. By living in a life of being continually alert to temptation and ready to repent, we will remain steadfast in our walk of faith. We will not live in a lifestyle of sin, in iniquity, but instead we will be throwing off everything that hinders our walk and that could possibly cause us to sin.

Are you ready? Do you want to run after God? Then throughout this day, ask God to show you what tempts you to sin. Follow the sin all the way to where it begins. Remember that a sin is seeded first in our desire from the lust of our flesh, our eyes and the pride of life. Sin begins within, in our thoughts.

Prayerfully ask God to show you these thoughts that need to be transformed into truth based on God’s Word. Lies entangle and trap us, but the truth sets us free. Let that extra baggage go, and experience the joy that Jesus knew.


"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging is relational; I would love to have a comment from you.