Confession time: My quiet times and Bible study with the Lord has taken a severe hit since having children. I’d like to blame the children, but the reality is, I am the one responsible. For a while, I would think about having a good quiet time. I would feel guilty when I didn’t. Eventually though, I just stopped even thinking about it. I didn’t stop believing in God. I didn’t stop referring to his Word. I knew he was there. I knew he was true. I just stopped spending time with him… real time. I would count reading the kids’ Bible at night or doing school as quality time with God… when in reality, it wasn’t.
I’m still not there. I’m really not. But the desire is back. I actually think about and WANT to have quiet times again.. for the first time in years. I even accomplish it at times. It is overwhelming though… to know where to start… to come back around and start again. I feel guilty… I feel like I should be farther along in the race of Christianity.
When a new year comes around, people usually pile on the goals and resolutions… I’m going to exercise… I’m going to lose weight…I’m going to spend more time with the kids and less time with my phone…. I’m going to keep my house clean… I’m going to read my Bible every day. And we do these things consistently for a time… some make it longer than others… but then routine sets in and more often than not, those goals go on the shelf to gather dust.
I read this the other day… Hebrews 12:1-4
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
I have read this before… many times. I usually only see the part that says “run the race with endurance.” But what stood out to me this time was the part that says, “let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings closely…”
Each morning, HIS mercies are new. Each moment we have the freedom to lay aside the weight, the sin that clings so closely. Each day we can make a choice. Philippians 3:13 encourages us to “forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.”
You didn’t meet your goal yesterday, last month, last year… forget what lies behind. Strain forward. Don’t let the guilt of not doing it defeat you, immobilize you. Strain forward. Strain… that doesn’t indicate ease. That makes me think of when I’m on the last half mile of a long run and I am literally begging my body to keep going. Strain. Push. Press on.
What that looks like for me is different than what it looks like for you. But the exhortation is the same. Run the race with endurance. Set aside the weight, the sin and strain forward.