Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wretched man that I am...

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
~Hebrews 12:1-4

This was the text of the sermon we heard this morning. (It will eventually be posted here.) I found it challenging on several fronts.

How often do I run as if I am alone in this marathon we call life? Do I notice the "great cloud of witnesses" before the throne who have gone before me? Usually I am too self-focused for that, I'm afraid.

How often do I work for endurance, rather than running helter-skelter in my day-to-day life, looking for my own comfort, and without the focus necessary to prepare for the marathon. I don't look for the joy set before me: I am consumed by the discomfort that would distract me.

How often do I consider Christ: Him who died for me as a guiltless sacrifice? I am much busier considering my own wants and plans.

The neglect of these things are why I grow weary and faint-hearted. I find myself, like Paul, exclaiming, "Wretched man that I am, who can save me from this body of death?" And with Paul, I can only answer: Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25) It is all His grace.

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