I pray you are well and prospering in the Lord. We have begun a new year and as is customary many have made resolutions, some have broken them already, and there is still hope that things will be better this year. The gyms will be full until about March usually and it will be easier to find machines to work on. The traditional prophetic rhymes have been given concerning the New Year, “On earth as in heaven in 2011,” etc. and we pray that it is so. I would like to share what I feel the Lord is speaking to me for this year. I hope this will be an encouragement to you.
Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrew 12:1b
Our church hosts a pastors’ prayer meeting every Wednesday morning. After prayer we were talking and one of the brothers said something about casting off restraint, not in the negative sense but a positive. This resonated in my spirit and I began to think about it. I had been asking the Lord for a word concerning the New Year and I was convinced this was it. So, what does that mean for us? As I meditated and studied these are the thoughts I had concerning this word.
Hebrews 12:1 came to mind, especially the part about laying aside every weight. The amplified says it a little stronger, “Strip off and throw aside”. The writer likens our life or course to a race and is saying to throw off anything that is holding you back. The word for weight in the Greek is the word ogkos which means a tumor, mass, impediment, magnitude, weight, burden. Let’s look at some of the things that are holding God’s people back.
1. The past…. Some people are held back by the past whether good or bad. Some long for the way it used to be. Some are loaded down with disappointments and wounds from their past. Listen to this oft quoted for the New Year verse. Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13b-14 Paul says he forgets those things behind (whether good or bad) and he reaches forward and presses toward. You cannot reach forward and press toward if you hold on to the past. You have to put the past behind you. If because of hurts wounds and disappointments you have developed wrong thinking pattern you must throw off the old and embrace God’s truth. That is part of renewing the mind.
2. Fear….. Fear is the antithesis of faith. Fear and unbelief are like matching bookends. Hebrews says the children of Israel did not enter the land because of unbelief. Had they mixed the promise with faith they would have entered the land. They were afraid because they did not believe God. They were afraid of giants in the land. They were afraid of the walled cities. David boldly faced a real giant because he had faith in the Lord. Proverbs says the fear of man is a snare. You cannot run a race with a snare around your ankle. Fear will keep you from moving in the gifts. Fear will keep you from stepping forward. Fear will keep you from possessing what God has already said is yours.
3. False burdens-false responsibilities….. Some people are carrying things that are not theirs to carry. I see pastors that are so loaded with cares and responsibilities that they have forsaken what Jesus called the one thing necessary. We must learn to cast our cares upon the one who cares for us. Jesus said, I will build My church. The psalmist said,”Commit your ways to the Lord and He will bring it to pass.” Cast off those burdens and take His yoke.
4. Infirmity…..I did not put this in my original message, but as I looked again at the definition of weight in the Greek word ogkos and saw the words tumor and mass, I thought about Christian brothers and sisters who are in a battle for life with cancer and other infirmities. This is indeed a weight that is holding them back. I think of Paul when the viper came out of the woodpile and attached itself to Paul’s arm. Paul shook it off into the fire. I say in the spirit Shake it off! I certainly do not want to be presumptuous, but I believe many of these tumors are snake related. Paul’s deliverance opened an awesome door for ministry.
5. Debt…. I really believe God wants His people unencumbered by debt. Owe no man anything, but love. The borrower is servant to the lender. Throw off the shackles of debt that you might be free to give, and free to go. I believe there will great grace to get out of debt for those who choose to do so.
The year 2011 will be and has already been an eventful year. There will be great tragedies accompanied by great opportunities and I believe it will be a great year of spiritual breakthrough. We must contend in prayer for our cities, and nations, for our families and for the church. It is a time to travel light and not let anything hold you back from the destiny the Father has set before you. If you don’t know what is holding you back, ask the Father. He will show you and give you the grace to be free.
May 2011 be an awesome year for you truly ,and may the kingdom of heaven be revealed in greater manifestation in 2011.