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. Hebrews 12:1
Laying aside hindrances, running with freedom.
We just started a new study by Cynthia Heald called "Becoming a Woman of Freedom". It is about throwing off the hindrances that slow us down or distract us. In the Hebrews passage above, our Christian walk is compared to a race. I picture that "great cloud of witnesses" (which includes the saints who have gone before mentioned in the "hall of faith" chapter in Hebrews, like Abraham, Noah, etc) I picture them up there cheering us on..."C'mon! You can do it!! Keep going! NO! Don't get distracted with that!!"
The first hindrance we talked about throwing off is our own propensity to take ourself in hand. To be in control. Relinquishing control to the Lord is freeing. Trying to control is frustrating. It is a paradox that to be truly free, we must surrender control to The One Who has made provision for our freedom!
Of course the parallel of Israel being delivered from slavery to Egypt was brought to our attention. Their freedom meant they needed to obey God and things would go well for them. As we know, when they didn't have things the way they wanted, they complained and wanted to go back to slavery, and it brough destruction to some of the complainers. Isn't it intresting that bondage becomes so comfortable to us?
I have a neighbor who has many ills, including alcoholism and family disfunction all around her. I have spent much time listening to her and encouraging her when she has been struggling. I have offered to do a study with her, I brought a study to her, I have invited her to church several times, told her about an "addicts recovery" meeting there once a week, and she is unwilling to take any of those steps to find freedom. She actually said she is too lazy to look up verses in the Bible. I also told her about Teen Challenge, and the nurturing environment that is there. Her response is, "I couldn't leave my dogs and my husband for a year." It grieves me that there are helps available for her to gain her freedom, but she is unwilling. She would rather stay miserable it seems.
I know, change is scary. We get comfortable with our habits and walls and masks.
But they are hindrances making our journey heavy, and full of burdens. Whether it be fear, worry, the past, pleasing people, bitterness, anxiety, or other obstacles. All of them slow us down or trip us up.
So, we are on a quest for more freedom from those things in the weeks ahead. I'll share our journey with you...
The foundation of freedom we find, is setting aside the old way, and walking God's way. Saying "no" to sin in all it's forms, and "yes" to God. FREEDOM IS A CHOICE TO TRUST AND OBEY.
Anything else is bondage. Let's walk free!