"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding the shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne." - Hebrews 12:1-2 NLT
Thoughts for Today
As we discussed yesterday, problem behaviors and dependencies tend to progress in a person's life. After the experimentation phase comes social use. We begin to use or practice more regularly. The behavior or substance becomes a part of our social life. Daily lifestyle choices begin to be affected by our focus on this behavior. We make rules for ourselves about our use or practice—set limits about when, where or how we do it. These rules make us feel safe and appropriate. And then without warning our use or behavior becomes a problem.
Consider this …
Today's scripture refers to "the sin that so easily trips us up" and encourages us to "strip off every weight that slows us down." Is there something in your life right now that is slowing you down in your walk with the Lord? Determine today that you are not going to let that happen! If there is something in your life that needs change, don't try to do it alone. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Talk to him about it. Ask for his forgiveness and his help. He loves you—no matter what you are doing—and wants to help you. Come to him today. You'll be so glad you did.
Lord, I know that this thing in my life has hindered my walk with you. I've made excuses for myself and tried to justify it, but I must face the fact that it is wrong … and harmful. Please forgive me and help me to keep my eyes on you. In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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