Here we are again…continuing on the New Year resolutions topic.
I said in my last piece that the most common resolution for both genders is to eat right, exercise and live a healthier and active life. We spoke of selecting a right diet in right portions – Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins & Water. We spoke of the Word of God figuratively giving us all the nourishment we need and also figuratively being the spiritual water we need that flushes out all the ‘toxins’ in our body, hydrating us and keeping us spiritually healthy and vibrant. So eating right spiritual food is one way to see the visible changes in our bodies as we grow and develop a healthy weight, muscles, bones in the spirit!
Let’s look at another very important aspect that we know works in the physical for our bodies and ensures good health and effective weight management – Exercise. I hear a few readers cringing. I know I do. I personally hate exercise but I know I must do it at least 2-3 times a week. For now, I am still trending only once or twice a week. I keep trying but falling short of my target, but I am determined to make it.
So also in the spirit, how do we exercise? First, Paul tells us in Hebrews 12: 1, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
If we look at this scripture topically, we are to – lay aside every weight and sin that easily ensnares us; run with endurance the race set before us. So weight loss…. light weight….run….endure.
Career athletes typically wear exercise gear that is light( in terms of weight) and weather-compatible that acts as an enabler instead of an encumbrance. Why? This enables them train without any hindrance that they can control. They are not burdened with the heaviness of clothing they do not need. This enables speed and efficiency to run, train and eventually win their intended race competition.
How can we relate this to us in the spirit? What are the unnecessary things that weigh us down – sins, attitudes, behaviours – which we know deep within hinder us from approaching God with confidence? Those things that limit our prayer and worship life, and overall relationship with the father? Things that shroud our hearts with (sometimes) shame as we know it brings God no glory? For some of us these could be things we have struggled with prior to knowing Christ and even after. Common former conducts we battle with such as pride, anger, wrath, malice, un-forgiveness, hatred, jealousy, envy or even less talked about battles with the flesh such as greed, lust, several Addictions (sexual, food/gluttony, pornography), lack of self-control, telling lies (including ‘little white lies’), selfishness, laziness, covetousness, impatience, gossip, stinginess, extravagance, love of money, hostility, haughtiness, impoliteness, idolatry, moodiness, vengeance, slander, wickedness, strife, contentions, vanity, … the list goes on.
We all have to fight one or more of these ‘weights’ in our Christian walk. However, how do we really lay them aside as we have established that they are weights that hinder us from running the course God has set for us and running it well?
Historically the church has always shared this list with us by telling us what to do and not to do, but never fully sharing ‘how’ to lay them aside and to succeed in overcoming these sins.
In my experience and learning, walking with God successfully is not achieved with a set of rules and checklists of what to put away, it is achieved with relationship; with love for the Master of our souls. If you love someone, you typically do not want to knowingly let them down or hurt their feelings. You want to do right by them, don’t want to be disloyal and desire to make them happy. So it is with our dear Father. My walk with God has been made easier and not a legalistic set of rules or chores simply because I want to please Him, make Him proud of me and make Him confident to use me as a vessel for his purpose.
Pause and think about this.
If love is your motive, you will be pre-disposed to lay aside these named and some other unnamed weights and focus on your walk with God. Sometimes, this is not easy but your love for God and desire to please Him will eventually take over and the appetite or tolerance for easily besetting sins will begin to diminish slowly but surely.
They say, “Pursuit is the proof of desire” and just as we pursue with love certain things for those we love deeply, if we desire to lay aside weights, we will pursue this and as we surrender to the greatest Helper of all, we will see it actually happening day after day, little by little, step by step. Running the race with endurance and laying aside weights can be motivated by love for God and pleasing God. As we pursue God, the sins that easily beset us start to fall away; we begin to run our race in lightweight gear; our efficiency increases and focus improves.
I wish us all a good spiritual exercising in 2017 free of encumberances, in Jesus Name!
Written by Bee
Be Your Best Self for God series