January 26, 2022


I was on the volleyball team in high school. I wasn’t a great player but enjoyed the camaraderie that came with team sports. The one thing I didn’t like about volleyball was all the running we had to do during practice. Our coach ran us to death at each practice. She had us run to build our endurance, but it was rough! I’m a slow runner and was usually one of the last to finish running laps. As a result, Coach Walker made me run two extra laps. I was ringing wet with sweat every day after practice. Even so, it helped build character! 

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily traps us.” 

When running during those volleyball practices, I was slowed down by my lack of athletic ability. Today, I often find myself weighted down and trapped by sin. I try to examine what is slowing me down in life. Instead of running extra laps, I sometimes run with guilt and shame. That’s where God’s grace and forgiveness come in. Author Bob Goff wrote, “On the other side of our failures is an ocean full of love and acceptance.” I’m so grateful for God’s grace, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and peace!

On Sunday, Pastor Holly reminded us that, “It doesn’t have to be sin to slow us down. Good things can become weights that need to be stripped as well.”  For example, we often keep too much “stuff” and sometimes have piles. We might have piles of laundry, piles of mail needing sorted, or piles of books, and other things hidden away in a messy closet. Just like physical clutter, we also tend to have piles cluttering our minds.   

Examples of mental clutter are:

1. Sin

2. Negative Emotions

3. Distraction

4. Indecision

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.” Pastor Holly taught us that in Hebrew, the term perfect peace is actually shalom shalom. She said, “The repetition communicates intensity. It isn’t just shalom; it’s shalom shalom, perfect peace. To be kept in perfect peace is a matter of the mind that is decluttered enough to be focused on . . . or stayed on Jesus. Shalom Shalom. Perfect peace is the other side of decluttering our minds.”

As we run the race here on earth, let’s let strip off the weights that are slowing us down. Let’s seek perfect peace by focusing on Jesus and placing our ultimate faith in Him. 

By Kristy Ensor

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