This week the blog is sponsored by The Good Book Company, which publishes biblical, relevant, and accessible resources like those recommended below.
The Christian life is sometimes pictured as running a race. Hebrews 12:1, for example, exhorts us: “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.”
Following Jesus requires discipline, endurance, and perseverance. But so often we’re weighed down by our own wrong thinking. In the power of the Spirit, we’re called to throw off the faulty perspectives that might be holding us back, so that we’re free to run the race with joy.
Are any of these three weights slowing you down?
The Weight of Mustering Up Our Own Strength
When we look at people who finished well in the Bible, we see men and women of strength and courage. They weren’t perfect, but the things they did often seem far beyond our own experience. This can be discouraging.
So, we strive to be braver, stronger—to push ourselves to be better for Jesus. But we wind up with spiritual muscle strain or discouraged when we inevitably fail to live up to their example, even in our own, far safer, circumstances.
Throw Off the Weight: One way to cast off self-reliance is to see that every Christian, including us, can only be brave, strong, and resilient by faith. It’s Christ working in us and through us that empowers us to persevere.
Book recommendation: Brave By Faith by Alistair Begg
The Weight Of Running Ourselves Ragged
Pacing ourselves is important in this race. We’re not just aiming to be faithful for a few miles, but for a lifetime. Although we tend to look at the incredible stories of great Christians from the past as a series of amazing, share-worthy events, the truth is they lived the daily grind, too. Their choices had consequences and their relationships with God grew and changed over time, just as ours do.
Throw Off the Weight: Look for a bigger perspective in the day-to-day. Remember you want to run the race of faith for life, not just to reach the next big milestone.
Book recommendation: Faith For Life by Richard Coekin
The Weight of Running Like We’re Alone
Even though we’re on the narrow way in this race, there are many others running beside us (not to mention the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on). Acting as if we’re running alone causes us to miss out on needed support and encouragement. It also increases the likelihood we’ll crash into and clash with those we’re supposed to run beside (not compete against)!
Throw Off the Weight: Flee isolation. Your church is meant to be the primary way you remember you’re on a team, a part of God’s family, and in fellowship with people who can help you along the way.