This is the final post in a 9-part series I’ve been sending out every Friday, relevant to the theme of this year’s ENGAGE Family Discipleship & Home Education Conference (only 1 weeks to go for Christchurch, 2 for Auckland!!!). Here goes with the ninth and final post…
Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Crazy-Paced World…
“Run Well, Finish Well”.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. – Hebrews 12:1-3 NKJV
As we consider the truth of God’s Word in this passage, we can read it forwards in a way that is preventative, and we can read it backward in a way that is restorative. Let me explain.
If we take God at His Word, and recognise that just like the many saints of old who have gone before us, we too can run well and finish well in our race of faith – then we will be careful to lay aside the weight (not bad stuff, but hinders us from running well), and the sin (bad stuff because it disobeys God’s Word) that slows us down and cripples us from running with endurance.
We will make Jesus our goal, looking to Him, and centering our lives around Him. We will acknowledge His sovereignty over all things, and accept even suffering, trials, and hardship as His will for our lives.
We will also be diligent to intentionally, and consistently, consider Him, reminding ourselves of gospel truth over and over – knowing deep down that our worth, peace, contentment and joy does not come from what we do, but from what He has done.
Living this way, we will avoid weariness and discouragement. But more than this, our Christ-centred perspective, will direct our priorities, and we will be productive and effective in God’s kingdom.
However – if we are already overwhelmed by, or on the way to a season of weariness and discouragement, then we go backward through these verses and find the only answer that can help us to get back to where we need to be.
First, we must take the time to consider Him. If Christ’s finished work upon the cross is far from our hearts and minds, we will never truly overcome weariness and discouragement. This is because much stress is created in our lives, from trying to live the Christian life in our own strength – it can’t be done.
Next, we make it our aim to look to Jesus as the Author and Finisher of our faith. Worry and anxiety wear us down, when we forgot this, and allow ourselves to feel like helpless victims of circumstances we have no control over. Knowing, and trusting that Christ is Lord of all, all the time, brings us to that place of peace, even in difficult times.
Finally, if we are still struggling in our lives to run with endurance, and to keep our pace up in the race of faith – it will nearly always be a result of either sin, weight, or both that is hindering us and slowing us down. Be willing to confess sin, remembering the hope we have in the gospel, and be willing to lay aside weights – anything that is not helping you to run.
…much stress is created in our lives, from trying to live the Christian life in our own strength – it can’t be done.
You Can Live a Grace-Paced Life
At the risk of sounding too simplistic, I just want to leave you pondering on the truth of these verses, and encourage you that you can live a grace-paced life in this crazy-paced world because of Christ, in Christ, and for Christ.
He has already given you everything you need.
You will be busy, but busy with a purpose, and busy with a peace that you begin your days with, instead of frantically trying to achieve it by everything you cram in.
Less really is more. Less weight and less sin, more endurance and more glory to God from the way that you live.
So now, run well, and finish well by understanding, embracing and devoting yourself to God’s priorities, and as you do, enjoy the life, and the people He has blessed you with – not crazy-paced, but grace-paced.
Part 1 – “It is Finished!”
Part 2 – “Intention vs Intentions”
Part 3 – “The Performance Trap”
Part 4 – “Slowing Down to Speed Up”
Part 5 – “Thermometer or Thermostat?”
Part 6 – “Our Enemy: Distraction”
Part 7 – “The Cost of Crazy-Busy”
Part 8 – “Saying Yes, Saying No”