The NIV 365 Day Devotional

Duration: 365 days

DENIAL (HEBREWS 12:1)

Hebrews 12:1 offers a challenge none of us can afford to ignore:

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.

For many of us, our past hurts are tripping us up. We may be stuck in a mode of bitterness over what someone else has done to us, continuing to hold on to the pain and refusing to forgive those who are responsible. In all fairness, some of us have been hurt very deeply. Perhaps we were abused as a child, or maybe our spouse has committed adultery. But it’s important for us to understand that holding on to that hurt and being unwilling to forgive the person who has injured us in the past only allows them to continue hurting us today. With God’s power, we can begin to find the courage and strength to forgive the guilty party.

Others of us are bound by guilt. We keep beating ourselves up over some past failure. We’re trapped, stuck fast in self-reproach and shame. We reason that no one else anywhere could be as bad as we are, that no one could love the real us or forgive us for the terrible things we’ve done. But we’re wrong: For starters, God can. Jesus went to the cross for all our sins. He knows everything we’ve ever done or experienced. The apostle Paul harbored a lot of regret about his past. He’d even participated in Stephen’s murder. Yet in Philippians 3:13 – 14 he inspires us with these words: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

If we want to be free from our past hurts, we need to deal with our bitterness and guilt once and for all. In the words of Isaiah 43:18, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.” That doesn’t mean we’re to ignore the past. Instead, we need to learn from our past, offer forgiveness and make amends; in doing so, we break its hold on us.

Because of Christ’s unconditional love, power, grace and complete forgiveness, we don’t have to let our past failures or future fears stop us. Remember that we’ve all stumbled. But the race isn’t over yet. God isn’t nearly as interested in how we start the race as he is in how we finish it.

Taken from NIV Celebrate Recovery Study Bible©2017 HarperCollins Christian Publishing

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