It’s a new year and the most common thing that people do is to make new year resolutions. We may not call it that but we all make decisions that amount to resolutions. Pray more, be more consistent with our quiet time, spend more time with family, exercise more, and the list goes on.
The point to consider though, is that it’s a lot easier to eat junk food than to exercise off the extra calories we put on. It’s easier to put something off and delay doing it than to be prompt and decisive. Perhaps it’s also easier for us to decide what we’re NOT going to do this year, instead of adding more to the list of things to do. Perhaps the thing that will really change our lives this year is to decide that it’s time to get rid of that bad habit that’s been quietly chipping away at our time, resources and productivity since God knows when.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Heb 12:1
I want to give a short commentary on this verse. The first component for us to consider is the ‘weights’ that hold or slow us down from following the Lord.
When I was a very young believer, I was once told that every believer grows at a different rate and that we should accept this because we’re created differently. If there’s some truth in this, I’ve not had the revelation to see it. What I’m convinced about, though, is that the rate at which we grow in the Lord is primarily determined by ourselves. Unfortunately, this involves us getting rid of some of the weights that hold us back.
What baggage are you carrying with you, that it’s time to let go of as you enter this new year? Pain, hurts, or misunderstanding? Attitudes, prejudices, or mindsets that need to be renewed? For some of us, it’s time to get rid of the extra credit cards, the unnecessary financial commitments or some ‘toys’ that don’t really get us anywhere. Examine also the relationships that you’re keeping. It’s perhaps also time to get rid of some relationships that weigh us down from God’s best for us.
The second component to look at is the aspect of the ‘sin which so easily ensnares us’. The Old King James version calls it a ‘besetting sin’. Have you grown up with some negative moniker throughout your life? Do people point out the same flaw in you all the time? Do your kids and spouse remind you of some bad conduct repeatedly? If you can be totally honest with yourself (better still ask some people close to you), you’ll quickly identify some besetting sin that needs to be gotten rid of.
Growing up, my parents would always correct me for procrastinating. I’d often leave school work to the last minute before I do it. I leave things undone until they absolutely have to be done. The rubbish bin has to overflow before I’d empty it. My toes would have to peek out from my socks before I’d bother to get new ones. The Christmas tree stayed up till 31st December when my wife, Wendy, delivered an icy ultimatum and I finally dragged myself to pack it back in its box – you get the idea.
The exhortation of Paul is to loosen ourselves from these shackles so that we may press forward in this spiritual race that we’ve all been called to. I want to suggest something a little different for us at the start of this new year – think of what to get rid of before you think about what to add to your lives.
Blessed New Year!