This morning I woke up and I had wrapped myself like a burrito in my sheets. I suppose in the coolness of the night, I tucked and rolled a few times too many! I panicked because I wanted to move but I couldn't. It was like I was paralyzed. I quickly realized what happened and was able to unroll myself, but for a split second I was seriously getting claustrophobic! Has that ever happened to you?
As I began to slowly wake up, my thoughts turned to a scripture verse in Hebrews 12:1-2:
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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
That word "entangles" was running through my mind so I wondered if somehow, through my sheet burrito, God was teaching me something. I prayed and asked Him what it could mean and what I could learn from it. (Yes, I do think God is always teaching us things...I just think we often chalk these moments up to "coincidence" or "chance" and miss the whole teaching moment).
As I meditated on the words of this scripture, I began to realize that during the night, while I was sleeping and unaware, I had inadvertently wrapped myself up in the sheet as I tossed and turned. The scripture tells us to "throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.." and so I began to realize that when we are sleeping, we are oblivious to what is going on around us. We get tangled up and immobilized without even realizing it.
There is a sin that does that very thing to us in our lives...it is the sin of disengagement. It's when we pull away and decide we just don't care anymore. It's where life starts to get hard or we get disappointed in someone's actions toward us, so we give up on our faith in God. We stop focusing on Christ and begin to focus on other things - usually other people. We begin to search for comfort instead of the Comforter. Before we realize it, we are entangled and paralyzed - unable to move. And it's sneaky...we must always be on guard for this!
A great example of this in my own life would be a few years ago when we went on tour in Charlotte to find the perfect church (on a side note....don't waste your time, the perfect church does not exist on this earth)! We seriously tried out so many different churches that my head was spinning. When we didn't find the perfect church, we decided to just not go and have church at home, where we felt safe and comfortable. Never mind the fact that the Bible is very clear that we are never to give up meeting together, but I digress...
This disengagement had some pretty severe consequences. We became cynical, judgmental of our fellow brothers and sisters and we constantly walked in offense. We had inadvertently wrapped ourselves up in our own issues so tightly that we were paralyzed. God, in His grace, released us from this sin that so easily entangled us. I thank Him every day for not giving up on us! But it made me so aware of how easily sin can entangle us when we choose to sleep instead of fight.
I pray that if you are feeling angry, hurt, offended or ready to give up, that you would seek the Lord and ask Him to show you the truth of the situation. Please, don't waste another moment being wrapped up and immobilized. How will we ever run this race marked out for us with perseverance if we are tangled up and angry all the time? Well, the scripture above clearly and beautifully gives us the strategy for that: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
One more thing...that "joy set before Him" that is spoken about in that verse...that's you, my friend. You and I are the joy that was set before Jesus - the thing that brought Him so much joy that He was willing to give His life for us. How can we ever walk in offense or be angry with what others are doing when we realize that the God of the Universe finds joy in a relationship with us? He will never disappoint us, He will never give up on us.
Hebrews 12:15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.