by Mitch Kim
I am concerned about body atrophy. When our legs have been idle for too long, it takes time for circulation to return and function properly. Similarly social distancing easily leads to social isolation, and it is critical that we exercise our spiritual muscles of body life together. We must not neglect meeting together (Heb 10:25). Meeting together may look different for different people, but none of us can flourish in God’s purposes for us alone; we all need each other. This summer, I want to invite you to follow Jesus with a new series: “Together, We…” Even as so much is changing around us, let us return to the basics to live out our core values together as a church. Together, we lay aside every weight to run our race by looking to Jesus.
Together, we lay aside every weight (Heb 12:1a). After detailing a Hall of Faith of great men and women of faith throughout history, the writer to Hebrews begins “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” Just like watching the World Cup makes me want to play soccer, so hearing the stories of faith of those before us inspires us to live by faith. The first step, though, is to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (Heb 12:1). If you want to run a marathon, you should take off your combat boots and wool jacket. Similarly, we should pay attention to the things, even when they are not sinful, that weigh us down and prevent us from growing together.
Together, we lay aside every weight to run our race (Heb 12:1b). The writer says, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (12:1). It is critical that we seek to run our race, the race that is set before us, instead of trying to mimic and follow someone else’s race. We need to press forward. We must not allow our hearts to drift backwards, but we should press forward to run our race.
Together, we lay aside every weight to run our race by looking to Jesus (Heb 12:2). The way that we keep running is not to rely on our grit and dedication and commitment; instead we look to Jesus, “the founder and perfecto of our faith.” We persevere simply by looking to Jesus; it is only by joy before him that he endured the shame of the cross to sit at the right hand of God.
So in the coming weeks, I want to invite you to follow Jesus together. This summer, let us strengthen the invisible web of relationships that bring us as a church family together by focusing on our core values. During the coming weeks, we will focus on “Together, we…” Each week will focus on a different core value, and we will have a way that you can practice that value that week. So let us follow Jesus…together.