Illuminate the Things that “Entangle” You
I gained a few pounds over this Christmas Break…I’m sure most of us are familiar with the overeating pattern during the holidays: eat a little larger portion than usual at one meal, then at the next meal eat a second helping of certain things that are most delicious, and then the time after that there may be a third or fourth helping, and then slowly we make our way into the mindless all-day grazing—leftovers and holiday sweets and snacks…it’s a ritual and tradition, isn’t it?
I followed this exact pattern myself the first week of my Christmas Break. Each part of my downward progression was generously justified with the same old, nauseatingly untrue, self-placating sentences, set on rotate in my brain: “I’ll work out tomorrow.” “I’ll go back to my normal eating routine in a day or two.” “It won’t hurt that much if I go for extra helpings during this meal or if I snack while I watch this movie because I’m normally so good about watching what I eat and it’ll come back off quickly.” “It’s okay; I’ve got this under control.”
This week, though, the whole “I’ve got it under control” nonsense was a sham. I failed more times than I care to admit—and for the record…I did not exercise even once. But even more frustratingly, the blasé, uncontrolled attitude toward my eating spread. Suddenly, I was wasting time, not getting things done, and ignoring my “to-do” list. Not only did I feel the dullness in daily practical ways, I felt it spiritually as well.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” I’ve heard this quote so many times over the years, but it still rings true. You may say, “Well, you didn’t really sin by eating too much during the Christmas Break,” and I suppose that is true, but what did happen is that a weakness slowly began to lead me down a path of not being self-controlled and alert, of being instead apathetic, spiritually flat, and a bit lazy—so much so that I even felt the difference in my quiet time with the Lord, and no…that is not okay.
Here are verses most of know: “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, 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.” Hebrews 12:1,2
It doesn’t really matter what the weight is or which sin it is that so easily entangles us (the Message calls these “spiritual fat” and “parasitic sins”). According to Scripture, these things must be laid aside. So think for a moment what yours might be: certain habits or behaviors, emotional hang-ups, ways of thinking, relationships, etc, things that leave you feeling less sharp spiritually or even sometimes completely compromised.
Today, let’s do some soul-searching. Let’s allow the Spirit of God to illuminate these things that “entangle” us; let’s allow Him to bring correction and redirection. Whatever it is that we are struggling with, let’s get rid of it and start the New Year in a new way. Let’s instead get up, get back in the race and run with endurance, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
FBC Aztec Member