Strippers for Jesus
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. Hebrews 12:1
(This verse is referring to the Greek runners who would strip down naked before running their race so that nothing was holding them back whatsoever)
And, as has been said, the worst kind of problem is not knowing you have a problem. What we are seeing a lot of today is a lack of healthy self examination with the intent of growth in Christ. Yes, we have plenty of introspective absorption where we recycle our problems and woes perpetuating only negativity, but we seem to lack the purposeful look at ourselves to see what is holding us back from living the eternal kind of life.
We can follow God while simultaneously being self-deceived and harboring unseen sin that keeps us in a state of double-mindedness. As we journey toward God, He reveals more and more of our sin to us, that we did not see before. Then of course we must do something about it.
We must be in the word looking to hear what God desires to reveal to us. We must have spiritual partners who are willing to be an honest mirror for us to even show us that which we may not be able to see from our vantage point. Those who can and will show us our destructive, unseen patterns. It was John the Baptist’s mission to clear the path for the Lord, and this was done through repentance, through doing an about face to our old ways of thinking, choosing, and walking.
Until we correctly identify whatever is holding us back, we will not move forward. And we must come to terms with the fact that our problem is rebellion. It is an idolatrous relationship with something that has grown within us. This can be something we’ve adopted as part of our style, of who we are, and therefore be difficult to pinpoint. It’s very difficult to part with something that is a part of who we are, even if it is toxic.
A way of identifying these things is to pay attention to our emotions. Perhaps God intends for us to pay attention to our emotions instead of ignoring them. Perhaps we are to pay attention to them the same way we need to pay attention to our bodies and what they are telling us. I’m having pain in my left shoulder-rotator cuff. Now I could keep on lifting heavy at the gym, doing what will make it worse (bench press) while telling myself to ignore the pain because I shouldn’t be hurt. I’m a smart lifter with good form, I’m beyond that. It’s nothing. Take some ibuprofen for the pain and keep going! Or just work around it, but keep moving! No, I need to stop, diagnose it properly, and then take the proper action to get back to where I can function optimally. Or else it will eventually tear and make me partially immobile.
So with emotions, they are our sensors. What do you get angry at often? What always gives you anxiety? Stop and take a look. Talk to God candidly about it. Talk with someone who knows you well. “The problem named is the problem solved” I read in a book. Expose it to the light. Sooner or later you will have to do something about it. Or else it will kill you. Which sounds horrible. Don’t give in to laziness by telling yourself and others, “That’s just the way I’m wired.”
God desires to rewire you. He can and will. If you let Him. If you strip off what is keeping you from Him.
In the Name of Jesus,
Soli Deo Gloria