“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, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2
We can want something so bad that we don’t mind hurting people to get to it. We don’t mind neglecting our morals to get to it. We don’t mind suffering ourselves to get to it. Isn’t it funny how we only notice the bad side of this desired thing after we obtain it? Or how shame develops after we’ve pursued it? Or how acknowledgement of fault is readily available only after we’ve obtained this thing? Have you noticed the rarity of being satisfied with never having it at all. The verse above reminds us that our desires can be controlled by eliminating sources of temptation and replacing them with things that bring out the good and godliness in us.
Like an apple, sin is a common to man and can hide its rotten insides with a flattering outer core. Sometimes, we don’t become aware of this until the first bite is taken. Some of us take another bite for reassurance. The verse above tells us to do away with the things that we know can trip us up. It calls us to remember what has tripped us in the past and to dispose of it. It reminds us that it is easier to move forward when we rid ourselves of the excess baggage that we simply don’t need. Our actions affect everyone around us. Once we obtain this lighter load it will make it easier to dodge unexpected hurdles that are bound to come and easier to recognize those that are crushed by our negligence. We can’t allow our desires to blind us or keep us from being our best selves.
Most importantly, the text also tells us to “look to Jesus..” Here, we are challenged to give our focus to God and not substitute our baggage with insufficient means. It recognizes that we are human and don’t know how to control our appetites. It tells us to allow Jesus to help us control our appetites by providing the nourishment we need. His actions, his ways and his commands are the blueprint we should all try to adhere to. In “loving your neighbor as you love yourself”, as Jesus commanded, there is no room to intentionally hurt people. In “loving the Lord your God with all your hear, with all your soul, and with all your mind..” as Jesus commanded, there is no room for us to love or want anything more than we love and want Him. Allowing society to set the standards for our behavior will never bring about the change the world needs. By following these these two commands Jesus provided, there is room for growth and restoration.
In the end, we all have come across moments where we are attracted to something so intensely that we neglect anything else that matters. I challenge us all to take that thing to God and ask him if its right for us BEFORE consuming. I challenge us also to be patient enough to WAIT for an ANSWER. Lastly, I challenge you to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor even if they have hurt you the most. We are all in this race together and I want to see us all at the finish line. We gain NOTHING in finishing alone. I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it!