Sunday, February 22, 2015

Running Without the Weight

“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, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”-Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV


Yesterday I went to the gym to run/walk for the first time in probably over 4 months.  It was a gym that I hadn’t been to before, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.  I just knew they had an indoor track and I wanted to get on it.


When I arrived, I checked in, found the track, observed the track “rules”, and started running.  I was dressed rather warmly, because it was snowing outside.  Well, it was warm inside the gym, and as I started running, it got even warmer, which made me start thinking about the scripture above, especially this one part:


“...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…”


Running our race for Jesus is a lot like what I was doing running on that track yesterday.


As I started to run, I was comfortable.  I came in what the outside conditions at the moment dictated.  But as I started running, that sweatshirt I was wearing became increasingly hot and heavy.  


When we first come to Jesus, we come as we are.  That is all He asks.  But as we start to run, there are things that are going to become heavy, “ a weight” to us, that will drag us down, slow us down, and not let us run at peak performance.


I will share something from my own life.  I was born again when I was 12 years old.  I drifted away from Jesus though until I was in my early twenties.  At that point, I had picked up some things in my life that were weighing me down.  For one, I smoked.  I smoked about a pack a day.  


When I was in high school, my P.E. teacher approached me one day in class.  She told me she wanted me to run track.  She said my legs were perfect for running.  I told her I couldn’t.  She knew why.  She said, “You smoke don’t you?”  I told her yes.  Not running in high school has been a huge regret for me and that memory has always stuck with me.


Shortly after I rededicated my life to Christ, I realized that smoking was going to have to go. I had smoked for 11 years.   It was one of those things that I loved and hated at the same time.  I felt like it relaxed me; it was a habit.  But at the same time, it made me seriously tired.  I would wake up in the morning and feel great until I had that first cigarette and then all my energy would go.


Well, at some point I knew this habit needed to go.  I didn’t feel like God was bashing me, but I felt in my heart that I couldn’t do everything He had for me to do and keep smoking.  One day I was reading my Bible, and this scripture came alive.


“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”- James 1:21 KJV


It seemed like all of a sudden when I read that scripture I knew that I had to put the cigarettes down.  Not only did I know, but somehow I felt like God gave me that scripture to empower me to do it.


Three days after putting them down I was free.  I haven’t had a cigarette in 18 years.  


Those cigarettes were a weight to me.  They were interrupting my race.  They were hurting my health.  They could have kept me from running the race that God had called me to run had I not laid them aside.


Less than a year later I went to Bible School.  I am not sure if I would have had the confidence to apply still carrying around that habit.  And I am certain that my health would have continued to suffer.


You might be a smoker.  You might be one that wants to quit.  If you want to quit, let me pray for you.  I know that God wants to help you.  He has plans for your life.  You were born with a seed of purpose.


“Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name.  I ask you to help this person reading this post right now.  Please release this from this habit.  Strengthen them by your Spirit to help them to overcome this addition.  Replace it with a sense of purpose, and love, and hope and direction in their lives.  Thank you Lord.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”


Much love and blessings to you as you continue to run and find your place in His story,


Beth

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