Closing the Gap 3.5.18

Week 9 Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Hebrews 12:1 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. 2 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. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?

Reflect:

Imagine preparing to run a race by loading your pockets with stones and then tying a rope around your legs to impede your movement.  Of course, this is foolish. No one who wanted to run their best race would do this. The race marked out for us is a life of faith.  The ones who have gone before have shown us how to run.  They have also shown us how not to run.  They did not all run equally well, but they have all finished their race.  We have learned from their success and from their failure that God is the faithful one.  Now it is your turn to run. This is not a short race; it requires perseverance to finish well.  Even if your life proves to be short in terms of years that God gives you, you must have endurance to finish well. The sin that so easily entangles does its nasty work in our lives, first by redirecting our perspective.  We believe the race is too hard, and a life of obedience is not really possible or maybe not even desirable.  We begin to see the very things that hinder the best life possible as being the best life possible.  Sin turns our perspective upside down.  The obedience God is calling you to is entirely for your benefit.  Of course, it is for his glory, but his glory in your life is always for your ultimate benefit.  The good news is that you can throw off the things that hinder your life of faith.  It may feel like throwing away the things that hinder and entangle you in this life of faith is like throwing away “yourself.”  Perhaps you have become so accustomed to them that you think they are an actual part of you now.  You can’t imagine living life without that deed, that attitude, that perspective, that anger, or lust, or pride.  But if you are a Christian, they are not a part of you; they are stones you have picked up from the ground.  You can, if you will, cast them back to the ground.  Christ offers you that kind of freedom to run this race marked out for you.  Close the gap today. Consider your perspective on sinful attitudes and actions.  Do you really see them as they are?  Will you look honestly at them today?  Will you throw them off?  Are you convinced that you can?  Son or Daughter of God, you can.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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