“Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us” [Hebrews 12:1, TLB].
The start of each new year brings with it many resolutions, mostly with vows to embark on something new. For instance, most set out to lose weight every new year. These goals tend to be big, but in order to achieve them, some take small steps at the beginning of the year to push them towards the bigger goal. One of such small steps is doing a two-week cleansing program with the aim of detoxifying the system, to help shed “easy-to-lose” weight, prior to losing the “hard-to-lose” weight. The effects of this cleansing program motivate and encourage the participants to know that their long-term goal is attainable.
Most of us set out in this new year with many spiritual goals; reading the Bible more, praying longer, being consistent in our fellowship with other Christians, etc. However, we fail to participate first in a cleansing program, to rid ourselves of the things that may seek to hinder us from achieving these goals. This is why Apostle Paul encouraged us to strip “off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us, let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us” [Hebrews 12:1, AMP]. This is the key to accomplishing the long-term goals we have set for ourselves.
Imagine a runner at the Olympics, geared up for competition, with a backpack containing rocks on his back. Imagine him running along with other runners who have no backpacks, and wonder what the outcome would be. We don’t need to wonder for long to know that that runner is bound to lose the race, no matter how fast and how long he runs for. This is where some of us found ourselves last year. We run hard and long, but we couldn’t attain the goals we wanted to. However, this year would not be like last year, IF we choose for it not to be.
Start out this year by joining us in a cleansing program. For the first 2 weeks in January, detoxify yourself of anything that you KNOW will hinder you in your walk with God. Start with your social media; friends, pages, groups, and apps. Look through your phone contacts and email list and evaluate who needs to stay and who needs to go. How about extra-curricular activities you partake in? Why not look through the books you read and the music you listen to. Declutter your closet, apartment, and home – even these physical things have an impact on the human spirit. Finally, take a hard look at the relationships and truly figure out who needs to go and who needs to stay with you, for you to make it on this journey.
3 days have already passed by in this new year and very soon, we will close the chapter to 2017. Would you enter into 2018 full of regrets, or with peace knowing that you started the race well and finished well. Would you rejoice knowing that you truly flourished in this year without weeds choking up your progress? The choice is yours; all you have to do is, “strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins” [Hebrews 12:1, MSG].