My beloved brothers and sisters,
Love and greetings to one and all in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who’s imminent coming we await and long for. Our loving Lord has been gracious enough to extend our lives thus far, and so we have entered 2022. He has kept us alive to give us opportunities coupled with responsibilities to do something more for him and store up treasures in heaven. What gives us courage to go forward is the assurance that our Heavenly Father is with us and by us in this pilgrim journey.
I would like to remind all of us about the very familiar exhortation from the writer of Hebrews, as is found in chapter 12: the starting word is startling: “Therefore”. What does it mean? It simply tells us the reason for the following exhortation. Chapter 11 talks about the heroes of faith. In this long list, we can see two categories of people: some were victorious and received blessings in various ways; some had to pay a heavy price for their faith. So, let us understand that our individual experiences may be different or unexpected, depending on God’s plan for each of us. In other words, we must be ready to face anything in the days to come. Jesus Christ himself has warned us on this during his ministry here on earth. In John 15:19, He says “… the world hates you because you are not of the world”. Yes, dear ones, if we choose not to get aligned with the world, we will not get the acceptance of the world. Heb. 11:38 reminds us: “…the world was not worthy of them”.
Heb. 12:1 says that there is a race set before you and me. We don’t know when we will finish this race. We are to be vigilant about two things that hinder us in our race towards the goal. One is the weight we carry with us. The athlete of the ancient world did not become “unweighted” by accident. He dropped all excess weight by dieting, exercising and disciplining himself. This stripping process demanded his attention, devotion and determination. The weight could be our sinful habits and our attitudes. When we sit before the Word of God and wait upon the Lord in prayer, the Lord will show us the packages of weight we are carrying. We must be honest with ourselves and God. The second matter of concern is the sin that entangles us. It practically means “easy to be committed” or what we are “more inclined to do”. We know the areas of our vulnerability. There could be certain sins that we feel to be our weakness. We need to examine our lives. It could be worry, greed, sex, pornography, jealousy or envy. These things make us incapable to run far. We are to run with perseverance or endurance.
Remember that we are not alone in this race. There are people who have gone before us, people that are running with us now and people that will run after us. The people who have gone before us were not superhuman beings. They were, like any one of us, ordinary fragile people with human weaknesses. If God used them to do great things, he can use us too. But we have to fix our eyes on Jesus. Satan constantly tries to instill a sense of failure within us, and wants us to think that we have become disqualified. He creates a sense in us that we are injured and become useless in the service of the Lord. Be careful not to fall in this trap of deceit. But let us “fix our eyes on Jesus” the author and perfecter of our faith.
In concluding this thought, let us mutually urge to pray to God with a sincere heart that He may grant us the grace to understand the areas we need to correct ourselves in many ways, which can include areas such as our unspiritual attitudes, negative thought patterns and bad habits that keep pulling us back. As we have entered into 2022, let us throw away everything that are discouraging and run our race of faith till He comes or calls us back home to be with him forever.
Our Lord is still working through us. So let us not miss any opportunity that He gives us. Let us prayerfully explore the possibilities and develop strategies to fulfill the mission God has entrusted with us. Let us rededicate ourselves in this first month of 2022. May the Lord bless us all!
Jojo C. Kurian