God surely did not create us, and cause us to live, with the sole end of wishing always to die. I believe, in my heart, we were intended to prize life and enjoy it, so long as we retain it. – Charlotte Brontë, Shirley
Have you ever watched a potato sack race during an elementary school’s field day? Kids purposely stick both of their feet inside a sack and try to jump/race to the finish line. Instead, they usually topple over in clumps.
But what’s entertaining to watch as part of a children’s game is downright devastating in our life with Christ. Why would we purposely bind our feet when we’re supposed to be running free?
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. - (Hebrews 12:1)
The author of Hebrews is also our running coach for a life in Christ. He identifies two things that will slow us down during our race: things that hinder, and sin that entangles.
Yesterday, we talked about eliminating the things that hinder our race. These things aren’t sinful, but they are distractions. And it’s helpful to remember that hindrances will differ for each one of us.
Our sin also keeps us from running freely. Sin isn’t compatible with our race; so if we entertain sin, then we are crippling ourselves. Will we finish the race? Sure. But we might not enjoy it. A Christ-follower choosing to sin is like a runner feeding their body fast food.
Imagine that we decide to become runners, but a burger and fries is the only meal we’ve ever eaten. So just before our race, we fuel up. “On your mark (chomp, chomp)… get set (chomp, chomp)… GO!” And then somewhere around mile three, we empty the contents of our stomach into the bushes, and we keep running.
But now we’re hungry again, and all we know are burgers and fries. Yes! At mile five we see a burger joint. Once again we’re scarfing and running; and once again we end up in the bushes. Something has to change.
At some point we must come to the conclusion that certain things from our previous life aren’t compatible with being a disciple of Jesus. If your race is a grind instead of a joy, ask Jesus what sin is entangling you. Then ask Him to remove it.
Lord, I’d like to separate myself from sin that entangles. I probably already know what my sins are, but I feel disempowered to stop doing those things. Empower me by Your Spirit. I long to be free from what I’ve always known. Amen.
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