I hope to keep this article streamlined, and that relates very much to this thought from the the Book of Hebrews:
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 [a]fixing our eyes on Jesus, the [b] author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy 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 (NAS, BibleGateway)
Some scholars believe the Apostle Paul penned those words. We know he wrote similar verses–1 Corinthians 9:24-27–as he compares the Christian life to an athlete who disciplines his or her body for competition.
For several nights now, I’ve watched athletes from across the globe going for the gold. Here are a few things I’ve noticed about these individuals:
- Self controlled, minimalists.
- A singular focus, intense.
- Best of the best.
- Excellence, leadership, wisdom.
- Conditioned, fit, sleek.
- Trained, coached.
- Strong, fast, skilled.
Now imagine that Bolt–the world’s fastest runner–steps up to the starting line. Before he crouches down, someone fits him with a trench coat and combat boots. Then they tie his hands together. No matter how hard he tried, I’m afraid Mr. Bolt would not win that race.
Now imagine the Christian weighted down with the baggage and cares of this life–wealth, fame, gluttony, self-imposed physical ailments, materialism, bad relationships, hobbies, poor choices, the corporate ascent, etc. I’m guilty as they come. Oh, yeah–let’s not forget church activities. I don’t mean to imply these are all bad or evil; we could term some as amoral, a few even good. But still, they may be holding us back from being what God wants us to be. A lean, mean discipling machine!
Then there are the sinful and harmful behaviors we know keep tripping us up.
God, help me to be a minimalist in this life. Show me the things that just don’t matter and the things that do. Thank You for the goal You’ve set before me. Help me to keep focused on your Son and the mission He gave me.
What do you think? What things hold us back from carrying out God’s mission–go make disciples?