What do you wish you had done differently this past year? Pastor Lutzer provides 3 rules from Hebrews 12 for successfully starting the new year: 1. Keep your “weight” down, 2. Keep your feet free, and 3. Keep the goal in mind. You can finish 2022 focused on Jesus!
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Transcript: Welcome to “5 Minutes with Pastor Lutzer.” I’m so glad that you joined us again today because we’re about to enter into a brand new year and I don’t know about you but I’m kind of glad to say goodbye to the past year, with a pandemic, with political wrangling if I can call it that, along with issues regarding inflation and all kinds of other challenges. But today we’re going to talk about the future.
Many of you know that our flagship radio program is called “Running to Win.” Sometimes people ask where did that come from? Where did that title originate? Well, I was in my study with my producer and as we were talking about it. We’re talking about “running the race” or some kind of action and the words occurred to me just “running to win.” Three words—we hope that they are memorable. But the question that we want to answer today is how do we run the race going forward? And at the end I’m going to have a challenge for you. But for now, Hebrews 12 says, “Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely to us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith.” Let me give you three rules to run the race successfully.
Number one is this: Keep your “weight” down. It says lay aside every weight. If you’re running a marathon you don’t want to run it with a weight on your back. Some of us should attend spiritual weight watchers. Lay aside every weight. You know, as I was thinking about this I think that one of the greatest weights we have to lay aside is technology. Would you consider going on a five-day technology fast? Unless, of course, you need the internet to work—you need email, etc. But let’s cut out all of the noise, all of the news. One of the things that I’ve discovered is that the news continues whether I know about it or not. There are times when we just have to be silent. We have to come before God and lay aside the weights that are holding us down in the race of life.
Second, the writer of Hebrews says that we have to keep our feet free. Don’t have that which entangles us as we run the race. And, of course, this means setting aside the sin that does entangle us. It’s very important that we get rid of that through confession, faith, and repentance.
But also notice he says “…looking on to Jesus, the author and the perfecter of our faith.” Always keep the goal in mind. It’s all about Jesus. You know, when people run a race they don’t say to themselves, “I’m going to run in any direction I want. I like the mountains. So, I’m going to run in the direction of the mountains.” Somebody else says, “I like the sun. I’m going to run in the direction of the sun.” Somebody else says, “I love valleys. I’m going to run the other way.” No, my friend, today let’s keep our eyes on Jesus the author and the perfecter of our faith.
You know, as a farm boy I remember when my father would begin a new field, he would choose an object far away maybe even a mile away usually a building or a very tall post and he would drive directly toward it and you look back and the furrow was straight but there is a story and perhaps it actually did happen where a farmer saw an object in the distance and then he looked back and noticed that his furrow was curved. Apparently he had chosen a cow, and as the cow moved around he, of course, got off course and the line that he was trying to draw was not very direct. Let’s not get off course.
Now as we begin the new year, here’s my challenge. And this may take a moment for you to think about. As you come to the end of the New Year, which we are about to enter, think of yourself sitting on December the 31st and asking this question: What do you wish that you had done from the very beginning of the year? Would it be committing to spending time with God? The healing of relationships? The clarity of your vision? I’ve asked myself that question and God is speaking to me about that. I want you to think about that too. Let us run the race successfully. All the way to the finish line. And next time we’re going to discover that that takes work. That takes agony. You know, if you find these episodes a blessing, subscribe and follow us. But as for today, you just go with God.