This scripture of Hebrews 12:1-2 has deeply resonated within me. I was reading my “Savor Daily Devotional” by Shauna Niequist and she used this scripture to begin the April 13th entry titled “What You’re Willing to Give Up.”
I would think first of course the things we most struggle with. Things that the bible clearly tells us to be “rid of” but not first thinking of the things that are actually good and still count as a hindrance of some sort.
These are the “sinful” array of things…
The bible lists a few out of Ephesians and in Galatians.
“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So now the flip side of that! What about the things that are good but hindering us from God.
Relationships are good.
Exercise is good.
Work is good.
Helping is good.
Ministry is great!
All these things are wonderful for us–but what about when it is obsessive or takes away from the time we give to God. Even places we put ourselves in, visit or relocate. All good things! But are they God-things? What happens when we put relationships before God? When we spend our time over-exerting at the gym and too tired to even pray? What about working too much overtime or on church days? How about when you are helping the world and not even yourself? And lastly–what about when you are at church 7 days a week working ministry and give little time ministering TO God or even spending time with family?
Time to evaluate right? Where does it even mention that in the bible? Right in Hebrews 12!
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. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
And there is your answer– for anything that gets in our sight that should be fixed on HIM!
What are your eyes focused on?
What do you have a heart for?
What are you putting most emphasis on?
Is that right before God? Is it taking the place of God? Is that hindering your relationship with Him?
Those are the internal things that we can ask ourselves and start to give God a little more. Those are things when can easily lay aside by choice and perseverance [the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult].
I can only imagine that it must have been a difficult choice for God to lay aside His Only Son [John 3:16] for us all…and He did that.
Today- what can we lay aside? When those good things come up–let’s evaluate and think, “Is this good thing a God thing?