I got a blessing the other day, reading in Hebrews 12 and verse 1. It says, Since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, people watching us, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run, that's running the walk, with patience. the race that is set before us. Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Down in Hebrews 12 verse 3, it says, “Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not resisted unto blood striving against sin.”
Number One - God has no pleasure in us making it harder than it has to be. He has no pleasure in us growing slower than we have to. He has no pleasure in us dragging along heavy burdens through our lives as we are on our way. That’s a help! At least to me it is!
While I was reading that passage, the Spirit of God started opening it up for me. First of all, there are other people around you who see what you’re going through and experiencing. You don't have to be more burdened than is necessary, God says to lay aside the weight. You can cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you. You can come to Jesus and find rest for your soul.
Not only your burdens and weights, that slow you down, weigh you down and make it hard for you, but He also said you don't have to carry those sins around with you. You’re a child of God. Drop them from your life as you put your life under His Lordship. Drop those sins, too. Right there is just amazing to me. What an amazing freedom, to be able to lay down my burdens and to walk away from my past sins.
Number Two – quit stressing yourself. You don't have to be impatient in life, you can run, and you can also do it patiently. I have watched the track and field events at the Olympics. I don’t think I ever saw any of the runners running patiently! We don't usually associate those two. Move ahead in the things of God, grow as fast as you can, while trusting that God will grow you at the best pace possible and take you to the best place possible.
Number Three – Keep your focus on Jesus. He said to stop looking at everybody else, stop looking at my circumstances, and instead, to look towards Jesus. Let Jesus be my focus. Jesus, who for the what? that was set before him? For the Joy that was set before Him. You don't have to go through life depressed. You might have problems, in fact you probably DO have problems. I have problems, but he is saying here that even though you can have problems, you can still be un-drepressed.
It's a wonderful thing if you can have problems and be undepressed about them. Jesus had great problems. Having your best friends turn on you, your family not understanding you, being hated for who you were and then being tortured to death, I call those problems. But the Word of God says that even through all of those problem, Jesus was able to endure it undepressed. Instead of focusing on His problems, God says that Jesus instead focused on the joy that was set ahead of Him.
You and I don’t HAVE to know how to do that, but we CAN look to Jesus. He does know how to do that. And because of that, He was able to despise the shame and sit down at the right hand of the throne of God. God tells us to think on Jesus, who endured the contradiction of those who hated Him, and how Jesus focused on the joy that was set before Him instead.
We get so divided and so scattered in what we are focused on, focusing on surviving and arriving, that we’re so split up that we're not good at anything very much. So we're not as close to God as we want to be. Not at peace as we want to be. We don't have as much time with the family as we want to have. We don't have as much relaxation as we'd like to have. And we're so scattered out, that we are tired and weary and weak and worn.
Number Four - Seek God first. Jesus taught in the sermon on the mount, that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, the other things will take care of themselves. You do what is set before you and be what God is calling you to be, and you'll get your food, you'll get your transportation, You'll be where you need to be, and you don't have to be so anxious, stressed and afraid.
Sometimes we try so hard to be so many things, to be so perfect trying to please so many people and the Word tells us there don't be looking at all the people there watching you, says look unto Jesus the author and finisher of your faith, do that one thing and do it well. You learn to seek God and seek Him well, and the job thing will happen. Being with the family will happen. Working on your relationships will happen. Jesus said the rest of it will happen when you get your priorities right, Then Jesus says in Matt. 6.33, seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.
Seek first the Kingdom of God. You've got to get it in the right order. Many of us say, when I've made enough money, and I've got enough stuff, and I got the kids raised, I'll spend a little time seeking God. He says you got it backwards, He said don't be seeking things. He said seek God and the things you need will come to you.
Jesus said don't worry about tomorrow, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. He says you don't need to get ulcers while living out your life. You know, you're not made for ulcers, God didn't design your body for ulcers. He didn't design your brain to be misused to produce anxiety.
But we worry. What if something bad happens tomorrow? What if an awful thing happens? Sometimes we just change the question. What if something good happens tomorrow? What if a wonderful thing happens?
Some of us are more prepared for the bad that might happen but we haven't prepared for the good yet. Always prepare for the good! You've got a choice to prepare for the bad or prepare for the good. Let's prepare for the good and seek God and believe God!
And believe that His grace is sufficient for us! Jesus was teaching us how to live a life that wasn't as burdened and frustrated as the lives of other people. He said lay aside those ways. He said you get so concerned and so worried, whether how people are watching you in your performance in the race, or how you're doing the race, he says don't worry about how you're doing. He says think on Jesus, and your joy will take care of itself.
Seek first the Kingdom of God. He said that's worth looking for. Get that plugged into the Lord and His purposes for you. Get back to who you really are, the real you. Not the you that you've had to become, in order to please and impress other people. Not the you that you've had to become in order to fit into the culture. Seek God and find Him, and find out who you are, find the you that’s in the Kingdom of God. Spend some time with your creator talking to Him. Spend some time with the Lord talking to Him and say Lord, I've got these weights, I've got the sin it's so easy to pull me aside. Lord, let me just spend some time with you for a while.
So many of the problems in the church, in the body of Christ come from the fact that most Christians just don't take enough time considering Jesus. Just getting alone with Jesus and being quiet. Getting alone with Jesus getting alone with our thoughts. Learning to have the music in our souls that enables us to sometimes turn off the radio, just have quiet and be at complete peace. You can listen to Christian radio or Christian music all the time, and that can be a blessing. But it can also be a wonderful blessing to have it quiet, to have it quiet and have no noise at all, and just be alone with you, your thoughts and your Lord. Try that, be intentional about it. It's a very nice place to be.
You can find a peace that passes understanding when you spend whatever time you can, with no outside noise, no earbuds in, maybe while exercising or doing chores or going to work, with just you communing with the Lord and nothing else trying to get your attention.
I love christian radio, and I love being edified and taught and hearing things on a different perspective, but sometimes the absolute best times when I've enjoyed listening to Christian radio is when I've turned it off! When it was just me and Jesus going up the road together. I said "thank You God, I don't want somebody yammering in my ear that I don't even know. Thank you, Jesus. And just me and MY LORD going up the road together. And, I'll tell you something, we've got some really bad traffic here in our area, and I'll tell you something there's even a peace in the storm of rush hour traffic!
Number Five – realize that YOU are God’s workmanship. We want to be learning how to cast your cares on Jesus and stay unfrustrated and unstressed by them. Can I tell you straight out, your job doesn't stress you, you stress you. You say, but I got all these other people I've got to please, and all these customers and a boss and a supervisor and they all are pretty hard to please. I hear you! We are surrounded by a lot of people, but that doesn't mean you have to let them direct your path. Heb.12.1 they're not directing your path. You've got a course set before you that you run. What are all those criticizers to you? Jesus lived amongst criticizers throughout his whole ministry. You're not here to please them. Consider Jesus and run your course, and you will reap your harvest in due time if you just keep looking to Jesus and going one step at a time.
Just like that, you can change what you believe and begin to change what's going on in your life, Praise God. Begin to believe the best, Amen. About everybody and every situation, and you will begin to find that things aren't as awful as they were before. It's learning to believe things in a certain way.
By learning how to believe according to what he says in here, you begin to find that in your world takes a whole different meaning. He says when you seek first the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, learning how to believe the things that bring you what you need to have. In other words believing certain things about God, believing certain things about the Word, certain things about Prayer, believing certain things about life.
Ephesians 2:10 says that you're His workmanship. And I had to find out that when I started saying “I'm so stupid, thinking that sounded spiritual. I'm so dumb, I'm so spiritual, I can't do anything right, nothing works for me.” It sounded like how I felt, till I found it's not what the Word of God says. Because then I'm accusing God of shoddy workmanship. I don't believe he does a bad job. God has the greatest workmanship in the universe!
Since I am His workmanship, then I can KNOW that He is working in my life! He’s not done with me yet. He’s not done with you yet, either!
We need to speak the truth. It's the truth that makes you free. And then you can begin to build on that. God wants us to lay aside those weights and those things that hinder us. He said I don't want you to have to be seeking the things the Gentiles seek, He said I want you to begin to seek the Kingdom of God. He said the stuff they seek doesn't make them happy. He said you don't spend your life just seeking clothes and food and shelter all your life, and you don't have time to seek your own God. He said listen, let's get first things first. He said seek your own God, He said and the rest of this will come.
I'm going to tell you something, there's some simple stuff in the Bible that will make your life work and work a whole lot easier. Deuteronomy 28 verse 1… God's saying here's the way to get your blessings, not by chasing after them, not by being frustrated, not by comparing yourself among other people who are also frustrated, He said here's the way it works.
God said listen diligently to the voice of the Lord thy God, He said if you'll take the time to listen to Him and to observe and do all what He says, that blessings will come upon you and overtake you. He said you will be blessed if you live in the city, and will be blessed if you live out in the country. Wherever you are, when you draw ear to God, His blessing will be on your life! He said you don't have to move. Just draw closer to Him!