First of all, I want to thank you for your words of encouragement about my last post, whether it was through a comment here, on Facebook, text, or in person. They each meant so much to me and I was humbled to hear your stories of loss as well. Thank you. I am still choosing joy, by the way.
Ray and I take a class at church and this month's topic was endurance. When they handed out our papers and I started reading the characteristics of one who endures, my head sagged. I couldn't honestly say that I possessed even one. As they began teaching, I got more and more discouraged because I usually quit when things get difficult. I don't stand firm with quiet endurance; I flail about complaining loudly. So I chose to set my mind on other things instead of listening and allowing the Holy Spirit to encourage me toward change. Nope, not gonna hear it!
The teacher had assigned homework for us to look up a list of scriptures and choose some that spoke directly to us and write down how they pertained to things going on in our lives. To say that I did not want to do that would be quite the understatement. Duh, I already know that I suck at endurance. After two weeks of ignoring it, the night before I went ahead and did it. And God went ahead and spoke to me through his word. So, I'd expected to feel convicted about all my food issues, but I wasn't expecting to get slapped by Hebrews.
"Do you see what this means, all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running-and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed-that exhilarating finish in and with God. He could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!" Hebrews 12:1-3 The Message
No extra spiritual fat? Other versions say to lay aside every weight that encumbers you. It just kinds stings a little more when you call it fat. I've got some pounds of spiritual and literal fat to lose. So I started thinking about my journey and how endurance comes into play.
Over the past few months, I've had some awesome encounters with God. He has spoken over me words of encouragement in many ways that have brought healing. But honestly, I haven't experienced the kind of healing I should have, and I just figured out why. See, God does his part when he brings me a word about a certain area of my life. Then, it's my turn to take that seed (word) and plant it deep in my heart and help it to grow. If I hear the word and let that seed fall on shallow ground, its roots can never grow deep into my spirit. It's like sorta believing what God says about you for a minute but then not so much. Does that make sense? We have to cultivate it. Hide his word in our hearts and let it sink in. I've read the parable of the seeds in Luke but it has never come alive for me until this very moment.
So what I'm getting at is, that we need to keep on going after the initial excitement of starting something new. Keep pressing through when things get difficult. When we find ourselves wanting to give up and trying to lose faith, let's turn to Jesus as our model. How did he handle tough situations?
Let's lace up our shoes and start running. And let's not give up when our hearts beat fast and we can hardly breathe. Because breakthrough is just on the other side of that hill.