…Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up…
Hebrews 12 encourages us to let go of anything in our lives that slows us down. Give yourself the gift of goodbye. Say goodbye to sin, the past, unhealthy relationships, negative mindsets and thought patterns. Let it all go…
Say Goodbye to Yesterday. Paul used to be called, “Saul”. Saul persecuted Christians. Acts 8:3 reveals that Saul traveled from place to place doing all he could to destroy the church. He dragged people out of their homes and threw them in prison. This was Paul’s yesterday, his reputation. In Acts 9, Saul’s story is interrupted by Jesus and His life is transformed. Saul goes before the high priest for legal authorization to persecute Christians. On his way to Damascus a light shines around him and from the light he hears a voice speak, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?” Saul asks, “Who are you?” The voice replies, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Saul stands up, opens his eyes and realizes that he is blind. The men who were with him helped him to Damascus where he remained blind for three days. Jesus interrupted Saul’s story.
Jesus then appears to a man in Damascus named, Ananias. He tells Ananias that he must go to Saul and pray for him so that he can receive back his sight because Saul was His chosen instrument to share His message. Ananias lays his hands on Saul and Saul is healed. Saul begins preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. The people in the town began to talk about Saul and say things like, “Isn’t this the same man who caused such devastation among Jesus’ followers in Jerusalem?” That is exactly how people will do you today. When you start living differently, people will drag up your past. Don’t let your past keep you from being who God wants you to be. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (NLT) God is focused on your future, not your past. God can and will use your story for His glory. It doesn’t matter what your past is, what you’ve been through, or how you have lived. Repent, give it to God, and go forward. You are either a prisoner of your past or a pioneer of your future. Don’t let the voice of yesterday define your tomorrow because I have good news: where you have been does not determine where you are going.
Say Goodbye to The Lids. In Genesis 13 we find Abram leaving Egypt with his wife, nephew Lot, and all of their possessions. The land was not big enough for Abram’s and Lot’s possessions. This caused an argument between Abram’s and Lot’s men. Abram told Lot, “Let’s not allow this conflict to come between us or our herdsmen… The whole countryside is open to you. Take your choice of any section of the land you want, and we will separate…” (Genesis 13:8-9, NLT) Lot surveyed the land and noticed the plain of Jordan was well watered and chose that place. Abram lived in Canaan and Lot lived near Sodom. God called Abram to another level of living and told him to leave everything behind. Abram chose to bring Lot who benefited from the level Abram was living in, but he didn’t contribute to it. The meaning of “Lot” is “to cover”. Lot’s presence covered or put a lid on what Abram could achieve. While God blessed Abram and increased him, there came a time when Abram needed to separate from Lot. After Abram said, “Goodbye,” to Lot, God spoke to Abram, “‘Look as far as you can see in every direction… I am giving you all this land… to you and your descendants as a permanent possession…’” (Genesis 13:14-17, NLT) Abram needed to move away in order to move up.
We have this promise, “The Lord shall increase you more and more, you and your children.” (Psalm 115:14, KJV) Are there people you need to move away from in order to move up into the “more and more” God has for you? I’m not necessarily talking about physically moving away from them, but emotionally. If the people around you are living with limits, they are placing those same limits on you. These limits could be narrow mindsets, low expectations, or even selfish motives.
You may be holding on to a hurt that was caused by someone who left you. When people can walk away from you… let them walk! Don’t try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, or staying attached to you. Your destiny is not, never has been, and never will be tied to anybody that leaves you. 1 John 2:19 says, “They left us, but they were never really with us. If they had been, they would have stuck it out with us, loyal to the end. In leaving, they showed their true colors, showed they never did belong.” (MSG) People leave you because they are not joined to you, and if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. It doesn’t always mean they are a bad person. It just means that their part in the story is over.
Say Goodbye to Stinkin’ Thinkin’. Our lives are a product of our thoughts. The Apostle Paul tells us to think great thoughts. In Philippians 4:8-9 he says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise…” The command is to “think” about these things. The mind is where we think, feel, and decide. It is the place where all the conflicts of life begin – the ultimate battlefield of life. God, our flesh, and the devil are all battling for control of our minds. The battle rages in our minds because, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7, NKJV) The devil knows that if He can corrupt your thinking, he can corrupt your living. We do not have to live defeated by wrong thinking. There are thousands of promises in God’s Word. Stand on them!
Let It Go… Forget the former things. Don’t even consider how things used to be. God wants to do a new thing in your mind, heart, and life RIGHT NOW! Will you let Him?