RACE TO SOMEWHERE
God's love and discipline is proof positive that we are on the right track and in the right race!
ReflectionsThe first verse of today's passage tells us to "lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us." There have been times in this race that my sin has clung to me. When I tried to find life and security in the things of this world, I was running on sinking sand. In other times, my sin didn't feel so heavy at first because it started as a good thing but ultimately became an idol in my life. The result was the same: my sin began to entangle me. God has shown me in the last few years how my thoughts can be sinful even if my words and actions are not. God desires us to lay aside these sins, which means to confess and repent of them. The good news is that He always forgives us (1 John 1:9)!
Every parent can relate to the next part of today's passage. In verses 6 and 10, we read that God disciplines those He loves and that it is "for our good." This is part of our sanctification process. God loves us and desires us to become holy like Him (1 Peter 1:15-16). In order for us to become like Him, He disciplines us. God has disciplined me in that I have had to endure the consequences of sinful decisions I made years ago. Whether we are suffering from the consequences of our own sin, from consequences of other people's sin in our lives, or from the reality of this fallen world we live in, God desires to use these painful situations to shape us to become more like Him.
Verses 12 and 13 (NIV) encourage us to "strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees," as well as to "make level paths for your feet." God gives us strength for this race (Isaiah 40:29-31, Philippians 4:13) and gives us a straight and level path to run on. Praying that we all run this race together and at the finish line are able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7, NIV).
Discussion Questions1. To lay aside sin, we must be aware of the sin in our life. Have you asked God to reveal the sin in your life (Psalm 139:23-34)?
2. God does not desire for us to run this race alone. Do you have someone running alongside you today, spurring you on "to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24)?
3. Hebrews 12:2 encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus. Do you have your eyes fixed on someone or something other than Jesus?
4. Think of a time in your life when God disciplined you. Have you considered thanking Him for the love He shows through discipline?
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.