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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Okay, let's be honest here...

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. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
 (Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT)

Anyone ever ask you what "trips you up" the easiest in this life? I'd say one of the things that trips me up the easiest is fatigue - when I get tired enough, I lose patience, make hasty decisions, and can even say things I'd have done better to have kept to myself. Along with fatigue, there are lots and lots of things that "trip us up", but to name a few:

- Boredom leads us into doing things we'd normally have the "will-power" to avoid. We find ourselves seeking out things we'd normally not view, getting into places we'd not normally go, and pursuing things we usually don't go after because we know them to be "wrong" or "not good for us".

- Fear keeps us from taking steps into obedience that we know we are called to take, but we just cannot take the first step because we are paralyzed by the unknown standing in our way.

- Loneliness can open doors, but they may not be the right ones to have opened for us. The sense of loneliness can compel us past "obstacles" we find in our path, only to find out those obstacles were meant to keep us safe, not act as hurdles to jump over.

- Pride gets us into trouble so many times because it keeps us from backing down when we know full-well we would be better off to admit our mistakes and just own up to whatever is coming next. It gets our dander up, keeps us committed to stuff just because we won't be known as a "quitter", and it gets us into deep waters that threaten to be our undoing simply because we thought we knew better than everyone else.

- Apathy doesn't really "trip us up" as much as it keeps us from ever taking the steps in the right direction in the first place. Apathy is best described as indifference - we just don't give a hoot anymore and it shows in our attitude toward things that once mattered. Although it may not be much of a "tripping point", it definitely is an obstacle we need to overcome in order to move on.

These are just a few of the things that can trip us up, weigh us down, and present many an obstacle in our path. Another big one is this not so little thing known as unforgiveness. While it isn't the most common thing to trip us up, once it does, it is harder and harder to get around it. It has a continual "tripping effect" that just keeps springing up in our path, causing us to stumble upon it each and every time. Unforgiveness is like an unseen obstacle, but it is evident in all we do and say - for it comes across in the callousness of attitude toward the other, or the determination to get vengeance that seethes just beneath the surface.

While none of these are actual "anchors" that need to hold us in place forever, they are formidable forces that present obstacles in our midst. To be free of these, we need to be comfortable "getting naked", for to "strip off" what weighs us down and presents these "tripping points" in life, we have to be willing to let God and others see what is really there in our lives. This is why we so easily stumble sometimes - we aren't willing to ask for help to be free of what presents such a formidable "tripping point". No one walks upright for very long without tripping up at some point. We are all human - therefore we all fall on occasion - even the most "stable" of us! To be truthful about what it is that is an obstacle or weight we need to be free of for good, we need to be willing to let others see us "as we are". It is called vulnerability, my friends - maybe the biggest hurdle we will ever overcome in our effort to be free of sin in our lives. Just sayin!