Image Source: iStockPhoto

Image Source: iStockPhoto

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4)

In what ways have you focused your previous attempts to “fix yourself” on what is seen and temporary?

What is the better approach? What are we called to focus on now? (See the above verses for ideas.)

Right now, let’s choose to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. The way to do this is to focus our hearts,  minds,  gaze on our Redeemer, our King, our Salvation. Instead of focusing on how much we need to “control” unwanted behavior, we will concentrate on the greatness of God, HIS ability, HIS power, HIS provision, HIS love for you, HIS grace!

What About You?

What do you think about this challenge? Are you ready? Ready againI? There is nothing wrong with another new beginning!

Let’s rejoice that we won’t need to use numbers on a bathroom scale to define who we are! In fact, let’s lock our bathroom scales in a closet or put them in the garage. Likewise, we no longer need to allow our ability to fit into a pair of jeans determine whether we have a good day or not. Life is about so much more.

Our King redeems all the years that we have been less than we hoped to be, the insinuations of others (or ourselves) that we have been inadequate, all the moments in the past when we have been controlled by our appetites and the meals that are yet ahead where we hope not to overeat or under-eat, binge or purge. He will use these moments when we are drawn to food to remind us of His love for us. As he does this, we have a choice. To wait in the moment for His love to satisfy us and be enough or to give in to the temptation to fill the empty well of our hearts with the stagnant water of the counterfeit. Life-giving water—Jesus our King, or the life-draining effect of whatever it is we may tend to turn to instead?

Bible Study

Let’s have a look at the past and the present. You will want a journal for this or to print out this part of the blog!

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7

In the above passage circle or underline every reference to the past. For instance “were.” Circle that. Any action word (verb) ending with –ed you will want to circle as well.

List  the words you circled.

What phrase in the passage above marks the turning point? (If you want a hint, see verse 4.) Do you see those wonderful words, “But when…?” Note the way the story changes.

Do you see a promise for the future in verse 7? What is it?

Read Ephesians 2:1-7:

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Do the same exercise for this passage, circle every reference to the past.

What is the turning point in this passage?

WHO is the hero? Who rescues whom?

Does the rescue depend on you at all?

Journal your response.

Aren’t these wonderful promises? We are encouraged to realize that the past is the past. We USED to live these ways. BUT…and here is where the story gets really good…BUT!!! While it is true we were in captivity, we were enslaved, we were without hope. “But…He saved us!” The daring rescue has happened!

How does this contrast with the notion that you can “let God down?”

When we have this sense that we let God down, what does that say about God’s need for me? If God is the one doing the rescuing, the carrying, the holding, the helping, how can I “let God down?”

In Isaiah 41:10, GOD says:

So do not fear, for I am with you;
       do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
       I will strengthen you and help you;
       I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

GOD is the one who does the carrying, the strengthening, the helping, the holding, the rescuing! He is the dashing warrior upon whom the story turns. He has done it. Jesus Christ has won the victory for you. He comes for you…right now. The gallant hero reaches for you from astride his noble steed. Will you allow him to lift you safely out of the kingdom of darkness?

He carries you. He lifts you.

Respond to the Truth

What do you think? How can believing this, that HE is the focus, that HE is the where our strength comes from, radically transform our experience? How might that affect you…TODAY? 🙂