“…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (New Living Translation)
Sorry friends… but the old self isn’t dead yet. You are going to struggle with her daily. She will be there every single day challenging every life changing decision you make – morning, noon, and night. Your old SELF is going to fight the Holy Spirit to control your will until Jesus returns. She doesn’t want you to forget your old life. HER name is not your name. She goes by several names: guilt, shame, doubt, fear…. but you can just call her SIN.
But if you are with Jesus, she won’t be able to keep up with you.
Saying YES to Jesus means saying NO to your old LIFE…not to your SELF, but to your SELFISHNESS. Over the next several weeks we will consider what it looks like when we try to run while hanging on to the old life. I believe this deep look at the results of giving in to selfishness will reveal a reality none of us really wants. Life is lived in little decisions we make every day based on who we listen to on the sidelines. We must train our ears to listen to and our eyes to focus on Jesus.
Sometimes I struggle to believe the Holy Spirit is stronger than my selfish will. The words of Paul in Romans come to mind. These words are easy for me to relate to: “…I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” Romans 7:18-19
The struggle is real. Let’s let that sink in deep girls…
The Struggle is REAL!
But so is Jesus.
We must focus on him. There is incredible power available to those who focus. If you are an athlete you know how it works. Eyes fixed on ONE image allow the mind to stop trying to process what it is looking at and redirect energy to other parts of the body. Focus feeds belief! What are you focusing on?
In high school my track coaches were aware of the power of focus. I ran two laps in my race. A teammate or coach was at the end of every curve so my eyes had a person to focus my eyes on as I ran. And yes, they yelled my name to keep my attention and out shout the voice in my head telling me I was dying.
Consider this picture as well… My husband is a very strong cyclist. He races and trains with elite men who can hold a 24+ mph pace for hours. So when we go riding for exercise I let him “pull” me when I am tired. He gets in front of me, I fix my focus right between his shoulders and pedal. My brain doesn’t have to deal with interpreting what is around me and what is coming up on the road. Jason is doing that for me. All I have to do is fix my eyes on him, listen to his coaching and all my energy is invested in breathing and moving my legs. Is it hard? Yes. Does it hurt? Yes. Do I get tired? Yes. But because Jason is stronger than I am, he bears the mental work for me. It’s easier to follow him. It’s hard when I am by myself.
Jesus is ahead of you and leading you. The Holy Spirit empowers you to stay with him. He’s doing the hard work for you. So focus on him, right between his shoulders, where he carried that cross… and let him pull you.
Your New Name will empower you to run this race. But you must focus if you are going to believe. Keep your eyes on The Groom!