Tuesday, May 18, 2010

EMMDEV 2010-05-18 [Seven Laws of Spiritual Success] Perseverance: Entanglements

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, 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. Hebrews12:1
On Friday we spoke about hindrances in the race. We finish our section on perseverance off with a sober warning about entanglements. An entanglement does not only slow us down or tire us out - it will ultimately trip us up. Sin distracts, entangles and ensnares us and the Greek word used by the writer implies all three.
But there are multiple dimensions to this.
Some of us are being distracted or tempted (the sin is still in the future)
Some of us are caught up in the sin (the sin is in the present)
Some of us are guilt-ridden and paralysed after being tripped up (the sin is in the past)
If it is in the future we need to try to look toward Christ. In the sermon at Grace on Sunday Craig alluded to Dallas Willard who speaks about moving from the idea of "the cost of discipleship" to the idea of the "the cost of non-discipleship." If you give in to the temptation, what's the cost of the entanglement going to be? Is the stumble, the fall and the lost ground worth it? I would rather hear the Master say: "Well done, well run, good and faithful servant!"
If it is sin-in-the-present we have a tough challenge. Entanglements need pruning - we had a creeper that was strangling the tree it had climbed into because we had not kept it on the wall. The only thing to be done was to ruthlessly cut the thick stems that had once been fine tendrils. The longer we delay, the thicker the entangling vines become. We have to deal with sin in our lives - if we do it soon it's easy - wait too long and you need heavy duty shears.
Some of us are struggling to go forward because we have stumbled and have led ourselves to believe that we are out of the race. Once we have dealt with our sin in true and sincere repentance, then guilt is a useless emotion. Either the blood of Christ is expensive enough and effective enough to wash away our sin or it is not! If we say not, then we are placing our opinion higher than that of the One who will judge the world. And that does not make sense.
It's time to get back in the race!!!
And never... never.... never..... give up!
Theo Groeneveld theo@emmanuel.org.za
You can see past EmmDevs at http://emmdev.blogspot.com/