Focus on What Matters

“[L]et us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress ….” Hebrews 12:1b (NLT)

If you want to finish the race of life, if you want to make it to the finish line, you’re going to have to let go of some things that may be holding you back in the race. Call it de-cluttering; call it simplifying; there are some things that need to be laid aside in order to finish well.

What kind of things am I talking about? The things that cause you to get discouraged. Think of it this way. If you attach one light bulb to a battery, the battery will run for a long time. If you attach 100 light bulbs to a battery, it will go dim and dark really quick!

When you keep adding things to your schedule and your life, you will quickly become discouraged and tired.

In today’s verse from Hebrews 12:1b, I want to focus on two words, “weight” and “sin”, because these are the two things that hold you back in the race of life.

A weight is anything that slows you down. It could be a relationship, a job, an activity, or a sport. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A weight can be a good thing, but if you get too many good things in your life, you’re going to collapse because you don’t have time for all of them. You need to learn to say no to grow. God doesn’t expect you to do everything.

A weight can also be an unrealistic expectation that comes from peer pressure or the need to please someone, or it can be a memory. You might be stuck in the past, holding on to a happiness or hurt. The problem is that you can’t live in the past or even in the future; you can only live in the now. Trying to do anything else will weigh you down.

Whatever the weight is, if it isn’t working in your life, if it’s dragging you down, you need to let it go.

Identifying sins are easy, right? Sins are the things that you know to do but you don’t do them. You know the keys to living a healthy lifestyle or keeping your finances in good shape. But do you do them?

James 4:17 says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (NIV).

So if you know that you should spend less than you make to stay financially healthy, don’t go on a spending spree that puts you further and further in debt. You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses or the Smiths or whoever you’re comparing yourself to. You don’t need to use the charge card.

Live within your means so you can lay aside the weight of financial debt and run your race well.

Take a look at this new curriculum from Saddleback Resources: Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Blood Pressure

This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Rick Warren. Used by permission.

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