1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? "My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.6For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives." 7It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? … 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. …22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. …[and] let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.
I love Hebrews. Over the past year, it has become one of my favorite books of the Bible. I've read it at least half a dozen times since last summer. I love the Hebrew writer's passion for God and truth...and his boldness in proclaiming it. I love the earnestness of it. I also love the awe of it. When I read words like "so great a cloud of witnesses", "God is treating you as sons", "a kingdom that cannot be shaken" and "our God is a consuming fire" I have no choice but to look heavenward, in fact I picture the writer that way...his glory-filled face upturned as his heart burns within him.
During this difficult season of my walk, it has often been quotes from Hebrews that have caused a similar awe and kindling in my heart. And it has been the challenging verses of Hebrews that have spurred me on and filled me with hope; verses like: "Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself...", "you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood...", and "lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."
But one passage in particular has haunted both my idle and prayerful times...a passage that can humble my heart, no matter how hard or cold, in an instant...one that I am so thankful for because it compels me to prayer, and to keep fighting no matter how many times failure instead of awe finds me on my face before the Lord. The passage is found in Hebrews 12, beginning at verse 15: See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
No chance to repent.
If that doesn't put an urgency on personal holiness I don't know what will.
And so it was, as this verse came to my mind over the past week, that my urgency to seek the gift of repentence and pursue righteousness in a serious way intensified. As as result, I made a decision: I was tired of going 'round the same mountain (Mt. Still Single and a Glutton) over and over again and I didn't want to miss the chance at repentence the Lord seemed to be handing me. So...I decided to act on that in two ways: First I determined to seek the Lord and ask for repentance, and then to take practical steps in keeping with repentance, or turning from my sinful habits and motives. In short, I sought regular and relevant study of the truth of God's word and accountability in the form of an online Bible study/support group for gluttons and by inviting three women from my church to walk with me.
The first lesson of the study dealt with motives: I needed to know what my real motives were and what they should be. I confessed to my online mentor, the ladies from church and the Lord that my motives for dealing with gluttony right now, and historically, has been to be more attractive so that marriage might be a possibility for me. This motive has nothing to do with and does nothing to glorify God.This motive denies the sovereignty of God. This motive does not trust in the faithfulness and goodness of God.This motive requires me to repent and trust God to change me.
So, here I am on Day 1...considering Him who endured, lifting my drooping hands, and trusting that He who promises to save me to the uttermost, to make me into His image, to present me holy and blameless before His father is faithful, though I am not.