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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Dress For Success

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

I remember the effect this passage had on me as a child when I heard someone explain that we must lay aside not only entangling sins, but "everything that hinders." That is, every weight or obstacle, things that, in themselves, may not be sins.

Through my journey of breast cancer, God has stripped many things away from my life. Some of them, I thought were good. Some of them, I know were good. And some of them, were just outright sins.

I have had 3 recurrences of cancer. After my 2nd diagnosis, I let go of everything in my body and lifestyle that could be potentially harmful. Many of those things were good: estrogen, fertility, hair, breasts - all good things. All GONE!

There were other things that were absolute sins that the Lord stripped away – pride, judgment, fear, wastefulness, control, perfectionism, harshness - sins, deep-rooted ugly sins that had found their way into my personality. Redeemed. Made new.

For me, cancer was far more of a spiritual battle than a physical one.  It seemed God was showing me just what is required in calling myself a follower of Jesus. The course isn’t an easy one to navigate, so we’d better rid ourselves of ALL that is weighing us down, holding us back, causing us to stumble. Get rid of it. All of it. The bad and the good that is useless for pursuing Christ. If we are to become all that God created us to be, if we are to rise to our fullest potentials in Christ Jesus, we’ve got to ditch the sin and the things that are causing us to lose our gait.

In Hebrews 12, we are encouraged to lay every single part of our lives before the Father, and ask, “Okay, God. Here’s all of me – my walk with You, my relationships, my work, my resources, my sin, my passions, my weaknesses, my failures, my possessions, my personality – EVERYTHING. God, show me what’s holding me back from living my life well. Father, filter every component of my life through the lens of your truth. Strip away anything, be it sin or not, that is thwarting my spiritual growth.”  But how?

First, we can look to those who have gone before us, the cloud of witnesses that we talked about yesterday. They are available to champion us on when the course seems daunting and hopeless. We can recall God’s intervention in their lives as an encouragement to His intervention in our own. Hebrews 13:8 says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s already proven His faithfulness in the lives of His children, therefore we can have faith that He will be trustworthy and good in our lives, too. 

But, in order to keep these testimonies of God’s grace in the forefront of our minds and in the very beating of our hearts, we MUST be in God’s Word. We must be outfitted with His truth. 

To be equipped for the race, we must demolish the things that are holding us back from having abundant life in Jesus – the things that aren’t on their own sin, and the things that are secretly and slowly destroying us. The things that aren’t bothering anyone but me. The things that are weighing me down. The things that are tripping me up and stifling my growth. Get rid of them, all of them. Strip them off. Every weight. Every hindrance.

And then, put on Jesus Christ. Put on the Word of God, that holds us steady and gives us traction. Join with me to put His truth in our lives. Let's operate with hearts of champions by living in light of the Holy Spirit. Let's dress for success…

God, give me a strong desire to outfit myself in your truth. 

Lindsey Pond

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