I have a tendency to fixate on things, to the exclusion of other things. The self-talk that can go on and on in my head could have written lots of novels by now. When I asked the Lord to show me hindrances and entanglements the other day, He took me to 2 Timothy 2:16: “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” And He has shown me the many ways that I engage in it: what I watch on TV (and how much time I spend there), political threads I may comment on Twitter, and even games I play on my phone. He showed me that it was keeping me from running “with perseverance the race marked out for” me.
I have prayerfully considered that for several days. Was it the way I was talking? Was it my choice of topics? And this morning I finally heard that it was because I put those first. And too often, it would crowd the time that I had to spend with the Lord. Anything we put before the Lord is idolatry, and His Word is clear: “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20:3)
Many years ago an almost ex-fiance sealed his fate with me one day when he called and wanted to spend the evening with me “because he was bored”. Trust me, that didn’t go over well. That was brought back to my mind while imagining how our Lord, who has done so much for us, must feel when we run out of other things to put before Him, and then come to Him. Why would He hear our prayers then? “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matt. 6:33)
There is a verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that is well-known. This morning I was reminded of it again: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The Lord is clear, we are to put Him first, we are to repent of our sin, and seek His face (His will), THEN He will hear us.
I encourage you to ask the Lord to show you what sin is hindering you from running the race with perseverance He has marked out for you. And then open your Bible. The Lord most often speaks to us through His Word. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)