Have you ever seen a video on YouTube where some guy has to prove how capable he is by carrying every plastic grocery bag imaginable from the car to the kitchen in one trip? He has several bags tied together while draped around his neck. He has two bags pushed up to each elbow then two bags in each hand and one dangling from his mouth. Yep, he is macho and he’s got this! Not!
What about this scenario? Have you ever seen a sprinter attempt to be the fastest runner in a 100 yard dash but he has heavy weights attached to his ankles, around his upper arms and wearing a weighted vest? Do you think he will finish the race with the other athletes? Most likely not. He will lag behind and be out of breath because he was carrying weight that prevented him from running well.
You know what? We do similar things as Christians. We end up carrying more than we were ever meant to carry. We have decided that we are strong enough within ourselves and we load ourselves up with worry, fear, anxiety, and many other unnecessary burdens. What are we trying to prove? Is it a badge we are to wear proudly that says “we can do this ourselves?”
We are reminded of this in Matthew 11:28, “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” God understands the nature of man. He knew we would think “I got this!” He understands that we think we are capable of carrying weights that we were not meant to carry. We run around as if we are Superman or Wonder Woman but we can’t fly, run or fight. We are carrying burdens that are draped around our souls that prevent us from running the race God has set before us.
We carry fear that will immobilize us, anxiety that will paralyze us and worry that steals our faith! Jesus teaches a contrary message to that of our flesh. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
I, along with you, have piled on false responsibilities in different areas as I have walked my journey as a believer. It accomplished NOTHING! I wore myself out and hindered my forward progress in the race. I want to embrace these words as my mantra as I follow Jesus, “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sister, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Phil 3:12-14.
In saying all this I am so grateful for the grace of God! For when my flesh wants to rule I can trust that the Holy Spirit that lives inside me will remind me that Jesus is waiting for me to lay all stress, worry, fear, anxiety, etc., at His feet. He will gladly take them so I am lighthearted and light-footed going forward. And if I trip on my own feet again He will be there to brush me off and set me upright to continue my race.
Let’s run the race together so that when our final day has come we can say we kept running towards the goal and never looked back!
Living by the brook,