"Throw it off!" in New Wine

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1 -2)

We are consumed by many hindrances. Our culture loves comfort zones, encourages the pursuit of perfection and seeks self-sufficiency… Big problem. The unfortunate result of this is that we have been socially constructed to live with the following hindrances:

1. Fear

Fear freezes us. That’s exactly what the enemy wants, he wants us to freeze in the race, to freeze when we step out of our comfort zone. We’re running a spiritual relay race and have the responsibility of passing on the baton when we get to the end of our run. If fear freezes us, how do we pass on the baton? Where’s the fruit? We’ve stopped running our race. He calls us to remain in our race, to remain in him, to remain in his love — where fear is cast out. God calls us to live radical lives outside of our comfort zones.

If we root everything we do and everything we are in God’s unending, unconditional, perfect love, fear has no chance of freezing us in the race.

2. Comparison

Comparison is the thief of joy and the greatest tool of the enemy. The enemy uses comparison to attack the mind, leading to feelings of self-doubt, insignificance and incapability. No wonder the writer of Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your thoughts, because they are the source of true life”.

The most heartbreaking form of comparison is within or between ministries. In this race, we’re all running with the same goal, wearing the same kit … Let’s keep our eyes fixed on our the author and perfecter of our faith, not the runners in our neighbouring lanes. When a runner takes their eyes off the finish line, they stumble, they fall — the effects are no different in our spiritual race. Stick to your lane. You are wonderfully and fearfully made to run it.

3. Pride

Who likes a big-headed athlete? Not me. Today’s culture tells us we must look good to others, we must be recognised for self-sufficiency and must reel in the earthly praise. I’m not saying that we should reject all praise — we need encouragement! What I am saying is that we need to know our Kingdom culture. Jesus says that the first will be last and the last will be first … Very different to our cultural mindset! Let’s take on Jesus’ instruction to do good deeds in private, where only God can see. Let’s know that our sufficiency is from God — he will reward us and we will discover the freedom that comes from a life lived to please God rather than humans.

So allow God to spiritually construct you, rather than allowing the world to socially construct you.

What is hindering you? Throw it off.

Emma Holland

Emma is 18 years old and is on the New Wine Discipleship Year at Trinity Cheltenham, interning in Kids Ministry. Alongside this she runs Girls Nights for Trinity Youth where topics such as worth, value and identity are explored. She is going to the University of Gloucestershire in September to study Primary Education.

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