Do you ever feel like there’s something standing in the way of your relationship with God?
One day during my morning devotionals, I was trying to pray. Maybe you’ve had similar days, when you’re trying to actively seek His presence and hear from Him, but nothing seems to happen. The prayers feel stagnant, and you’re sitting there in silence.
That morning, I had read Deuteronomy 11:22, where Moses advised the Israelites to love the Lord, walk in His ways and hold fast to Him. So here I was, trying to cling to Him, but I felt something holding me back. It felt like I was keeping God at a distance, even as I tried to draw closer to Him.
I wrote down my thoughts, and the following words came: Disappointment keeps holding me back from pressing closer to You, and You want me to let that go and give it to You. How can I let my disappointment go?
As soon as I wrote the question, a verse came to my mind.
“… Let us lay aside every weight and every sin which does so easily beset us and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right-hand throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, emphasis added)
I decided to dig into the action items in those verses.
Lay aside the weight and sin.
We have to actively choose to put off the burden. In the original Greek, this means casting off a prominent encumbrance, offence or mistake. If we don’t put those aside, we’ll be surrounded and thwarted by them, and our progress will be hindered.
Run the race with patience.
We have to strive and exert ourselves in our lives and relationships, whether with God or people. Life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon that can be grueling, exhilarating, exhausting and exciting. We need to have patience, be steadfast and build our endurance.
Look unto Jesus.
Jesus is the end goal, and He’s the one we should be focused on. That means we have to turn our eyes away from other things (disappointment, discouragement, pain, loss or whatever else) and fix our eyes on Jesus. This doesn’t mean those other things aren’t still around us, just that we choose not to focus on them.
But these actions aren’t a one-time deal. We need to do these things daily, deliberately. Each day will present new issues as well as the lingering obstacles we seem to constantly struggle with. Even if we threw off the weight yesterday, we need to choose to move past them again today.
This happened to me the other day. I had set aside the weight, moving into His presence, walking in joy. Two days later, I felt something was blocking me from truly entering into God’s presence again. I searched within myself and found that familiar weight there again, and I thought, “God, didn’t I just deal with this?”
I had to go through the process again, and that’s where the endurance comes in. Don’t get discouraged when it feels like the same burdens and issues pop up in your life. Bring them to God and leave them before Him. He doesn’t look at you in judgment or frustration. Instead, He extends a fresh dose of grace and mercy each morning.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)