What are you looking at?

God Gold of the day

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 ‭

Just in case you forgot, THE RACE has not stopped! We are still in this race and always will be! I’m super excited to share with you this gold that has been revolutionizing every thing I do and am thankful to get to run this race alongside each of you!

For today, I just want to leave you with this one thought. What does it mean to keep your eyes on Jesus during this race? We’ve talked recently about identifying those weights and sins that you have present in your life so you can then take the next step to throw them off and no longer be held back from running this race in the best possible way. But what does keeping our eyes on Jesus help? Why is that important?

It just hit me earlier, in the hurry, hustle and bustle of this life, it can be easy to lose sight of where our eyes should be, which is on Jesus. I had this moment at work earlier, I was tired from coming in late from out of town the night before. I didn’t feel like working much less undergoing the big time tasks of manual labor this job requires. I was fighting all these thoughts of what I felt, what I wanted to do, and it got hard. But in the midst of all that negativity and thoughts focused on me, this verse stuck out to me and it hit me. “Dude, stop putting your eyes on you and what you got or don’t have. You don’t have what it takes and you’ll never get through this on your own, so turn to Jesus. Literally call on His name and surrender all of these feelings of defeat.”

It was crazy, as I went throughout the day, I just stopped trying so hard to make everything better or look at what I saw or felt and I kept my eyes on Jesus, I kept my thoughts on Him, and instead of continuing in this struggle, I took my struggle to the only One who could take it, JESUS!!!!

It was like night and day, as I looked at Jesus, who He is, what He’s capable of and looking back to all those moments He’s delivered me and carried me through tough times before, my circumstances didn’t change but the way I handled them sure did! I’m not saying this to make me look like I have it all figured out, it’s actually the opposite. I am weak, broken and useless without Jesus. I’m a negative Nelly and I want nothing more than to give up. But learning this lesson today changed the game completely in ways only Jesus can. As my eyes went off my situation and onto Jesus, this joy and peace overwhelmed me. I felt confident, not in me but in Jesus, I was strengthened because I knew no matter what Jesus was more than capable to deliver me through my struggle. I saw the goal was to work hard and finish the work day strong, but my vision couldn’t be set on anything but Jesus if that goal was ever to be accomplished! I was tempted many of times to place my eyes on all the things around me, what others were doing, and so much more but the more I kept my eyes on Jesus, the more I pushed and did things that only Jesus is capable of doing!

No matter what you are doing today or what kind of tough situations you face, stop trying to get through on what you got, stop looking at the impossible you see around you! Place your eyes on nowhere but Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the King of Kings! With our eyes on Jesus, impossible fades away and becomes possible, even more so what seemed impossible in our eyes, turns to possible reality through the eyes of Jesus!!! Look to Jesus and keep looking! He is enough and He will not only get you through this but He will lift you up to walk victoriously through it!!! That’s who Jesus is and that’s what Jesus does, so why look elsewhere?

Weighted Down

God gold of the day

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,”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1

We’re in THE RACE and we’ve already had the chance to hit on so many big time truths about this race God has set before us! Just a quick run down of what we’ve learned so far;

  • We’re not in this race alone; we are running alongside the believers God has placed around us, the Saints that have came before us, and most importantly with Jesus!

We’re in a race

    ; as much as we can get comfortable and caught up in the mundane of everyday life, we have to remember that we are in a race, one that requires focus, devotion and a sense of urgency.

The why behind why we run this race?

    For the joy that was set before Jesus, the salvation of others, that is why we have life and now He has called us to run with purpose and strive towards that same joy of being a witness for Him so others can experience the salvation only Jesus can bring.

This race can’t be run with “me” only with “Him.”

    To make those first steps into the race, it’s uncomfortable, painful and isn’t easy. There must be a surrender of self, taking up of our cross and following Jesus. For He is the only way we can take any steps forward in this race.

Today, we are going to step into some new areas. In this first verse of Hebrews 12 where it talks about the race; the first instruction given so we can run this race in the best possible way is to; “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely.”

I mean think about this in the context of a race as the writer has set up for us here; you’re a runner and like any runner do you think it would help you be most effective to run the race if you have more weight or less??? The obvious answer is less right?!?! Then, the question I found myself asking is; “why would I continue day after day to hold onto the sin and weights of things in my life and not let them go?” It makes no sense but what stinks is the fact that we do this so often. No matter who you are, we all have sin and weight holding us back from running this race freely and light footed in the best possible way. What convicted me even more is that I have seen and held onto obvious sins in my life for years because they have always brought me what I thought I needed; which is not true because only Jesus can bring those things. But what is this “weight” the writer is talking about here?

I always read this and thought that weight and sin were the same thing, because sin weighs us down too but seeing the “and” in this verse means it’s talking about “weight” as a completely separate thing. So if “weight” isn’t sin then what is it? Well, after doing some digging I learned that “weight” is simply referring to the things in our life that aren’t bad things in and of themselves but when placed above Jesus and what’s most important these things can become something that slows us down, distracts us, and holds us back from running this race in the best possible way.

Examples of weights can be a number of things in today’s world and the scary part is how the enemy uses these things as things that “aren’t that bad,” then we give them more weight in our lives than they need to have. Maybe it’s TV, like watching Netflix or sports, maybe it’s your phone and the time you spend on it scrolling through social media, maybe it’s even food and devouring way too much of it or the most tasty unhealthy of them. These things by themselves are not bad, they are actually good and serve good purposes in our lives but when they are given too much weight in our lives then they can easily weigh us down from running the race towards the most important purpose we have, and that’s living for Jesus and to spread His name in how we live and speak to others.

These weights can be such a trap for us as followers of Christ as the enemy uses them in the sneakiest ways. We see things that aren’t bad necessarily but are they the BEST that God has called us to, the BEST that God has given to us, the BEST that God has called us to run this race in.

I have no answers to tell you what these things are in your life. But I do encourage you today to take some time to really pray and think about what these sins and weights are in your life currently? If you don’t see any, ask God to show you and He will open up more to your eyes than you would ever of imagined. I could easily just tell you and encourage you to throw these things off like it says in this verse but how can throw something off that you don’t know is there? To throw these things off, we first have to understand and realize what these things are. Seriously, I highly encourage you to spend some time thinking about this today and take some inventory on it. If you can’t think of what they could be, or if you don’t want to admit them, just first come to see the purpose God has set before you, the WHY in which you run this race. Does this thing in my life align me with the purpose God has given me to love Him and love others, to share the Gospel with others through how I live my daily life? Do these things help or hurt the way I spend my time? Am I spending more times on these things or on running the race God has set before me? Just really dig deep and ask yourself the hard questions today, find out what sin and weight may be holding you back and then we can move to the next step of throwing these things off.

The Plunge into the Race

God Gold of the Day

‘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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-3 

 

 

 

What’s Your Why?

God Gold of the Day

‘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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-3 

2020 is here and as I mentioned last week, WE’RE IN A RACE!!!! What is this race I’m talking about? Why would we even feel the need to run it? With every new year we find ourselves making resolutions and goals on things we want to change about ourselves in the new year, with the goal of getting better! With all of the many challenges we could make to enhance our lives and make us better, the question I’ve found myself asking is why don’t I just focus on running the race with God this year? After looking at these verses speaking of “The Race” in Hebrews, it made sense that this should be our main focus and all the other little goals we make to be better, healthier, more in shape individuals will fall into place.

My biggest downfall with New Years resolutions in the past is in the fact that I’ve lacked purpose. I find myself getting all excited and hyped up, writing down goals, attacking them for a minute then to find myself one month in falling away from them, giving up completely and failing? I know I can’t be the only one who’s done that right? I have this burning question sitting on me, a question that has brought me to the point of wanting to not even try any resolutions or goals to get better because in the back of my head I know I will fail just like I have done so many times before. The burning question that has eaten me alive is simple, why do I fail at these goals? Why do I always come up short when trying to make changes in my life and get better? It has baffled me and it has caused me to come to a place of comfortable sideline sitting while the race is happening before us.

The number one thing that I’ve learned from failing so many times at running this race of life better and I’m excited to share with you today is this;

Why do we run? 

It’s a simple question that without the answer we can find ourselves like many times before not seeing any point or having no desire to even run in the first place. If we don’t know where we are headed and why we are going there, why go? Think about it, why would we give our lives and focus in on running this race for Jesus when we are already comfortable right where we’re at??? Why would I want to run when I can sit here on the sidelines where I’m comfortable, I have my ways of doing things, my food, my tv, my phone, my routine, my hobbies, and overall just my way of doing life? I get that, it seems kind of dumb to fix something that doesn’t seem broken but what if I told you there was more?!?!?!?

More?!? Really?? What could be better than this nice comfortable life I’m living? I can sit here all day long and challenge you to run this race, hype it up and make it sound good but if you don’t see the purpose or the WHY behind running, why would you ever run? I want to be real with you because I have spent years getting caught in this struggle of comfort that is so easy to get caught in and blinded by, living in all of the pleasures the world offers us and thinking this is as good as it gets. I want to be real with you to let you know I understand that and I’m fighting through this comfort zone struggle with you. But knowing that God has greater in store for us, a life filled with and lived for so much MORE!!! I am excited to embrace this challenge with you and encounter our first BIG problem that we have in running this race;

What is our WHY? What is the answer to the question? WHY DO WE RUN THIS RACE? 

Before we can even make that step from the comfort zone into the race, we have to be aware of the why behind why we run the race? Why it’s so important? And why it’s worth it? Knowing the why is what moves us from our comfort and into running this race of life God has set before us? Knowing our purpose is what drives us, motivates us, and fills our fuel tanks when they feel like they are on empty! The why allows us to push through and run to places in this race that we never thought possible, it allows us to experience Jesus on deeper levels than ever before. What is the WHY???

Looking at verse 2 of Hebrews 12, we see the example of Jesus enduring the cross. But also we see the WHY in why He endured this pain, WHY He willingly went through the pain and shame of the cross, the WHY to WHY Jesus did everything He did.

“who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame,”

I’ll be honest, I read this and was clueless as to what this meant; “the joy that was set before Him.” What in the world does this mean? What is this “joy?”

After reading a commentary, my eyes were opened to see what this “joy” was that it’s talks about here. “Jesus looked right through the cross to the coming joy of bring salvation to others.” Jesus was completely fixed in His purpose to follow the Father’s will, Jesus set His eyes to the WHY, why would Jesus go through all the pain and shame that came with taking on the sins of the world and the physical pain of suffering on a cross? The answer was simple, for the joy that was set before Him, which is the joy His sacrifice and obedience on the cross would bring to other’s lives. The salvation that would come to others is what drove Jesus to do what He did, and while doing so, “despising the shame,” meaning that He was so fixed on His why, His purpose that God had called Him to, He thought so little of the pain and shame of the cross that He didn’t try to avoid it, instead, He ENDURED IT!!!

How awesome is it to know that Jesus endured all that for us so that we could have life and life eternally. Think about that for a moment, because of what Jesus has done we are now adopted as children of God, heirs to the Kingdom, who will receive the gift of eternity. And to think that Jesus has left us where He is now seated at the “throne of God,” with the mission to continue this ministry of bringing salvation to others. All the pain and suffering Jesus endured brought to us eternity, now He has set the same joy before us to be his hands and feet, to bring Jesus to others lives, His salvation and eternity.

So why do we run this race? Why do we move out of our comfort zones, into the uncomfortable, the pain and endurance it takes to run the race? Because of Jesus, the joy He has set before us giving us the gift of salvation and eternal life, we don’t just run for that which we have already received, now we run for those who haven’t, for those who don’t know Jesus, for those who are destined for an eternity in Hell because they don’t know another way, God has set in us a purpose to love Him and love others. To be obedient and live our lives as a sacrifice for the joy of bring salvation to the world around us. Just experiencing a small taste of this joy so far in my race, I am here to tell you that it’s more worth it than anything we could ever do. It’s a joy that fills us in ways that things and comforts of this world never could. This is why we run, don’t forget the WHY behind why we do all we do, because it will be the driving force in stepping out of comfort and running this race with radical abandonment for God’s Glory. Fix your focus on the WHY, and get off the sidelines watching the race, the WHY is to great and the impact is too eternal not to run with all we have!!!!

If you wonder why you’ve always failed to reach goals and run the race, maybe it’s because your why, or purpose was in the wrong place, maybe it was because your purpose was lacking from your focus, maybe you had no purpose. Well, now we are set in God’s purpose, we know the WHY, the joy that is set before us gives us all we need to endure the challenges and obstacles that come with running this race!!!!

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