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Lighten Up!

Well, how is the whole “New Year, New Me” resolution holding up? Have you started yet? The join-this-awesome-gym-that’s-not-like-every-other-gym-but-it-totally-is commercials are still playing pretty regularly so I’m guessing it’s going pretty great for them! To be honest, I have always been intimidated by the gym. Those big pieces of torture-machinery laugh at me when I go in there. They know I have no idea how to work them properly. Also, I’m pretty sure that every person in the gym knows I don’t belong there.

Seriously, one of the last times I was in a gym was back in college. I, rather unfortunately, had to take a weight-lifting class with a bunch of basketball and softball players. (I’m still pretty sure there must have been some other Jerri-Lynne that was supposed to be taking that class). Anyways, we all lined up to go through the lifting, pulling, pushing, crying, whining, sweating, regretting life-decision process and I ended up behind some six-and-a-half-foot giant. I kid you not. So, he gets done with the sit on the bench and pull the bar with the weight on it thing and then it was my turn. I sat on the bench, pulled on the bar, and ended up hanging in the air. Everyone thought it was hilarious… even my professor. I however, did not think it was as funny as everyone else seemed to think it was!

Now, when people go to the gym, it’s usually because they want to change something about themselves such as lose weight, gain strength, run faster, and become a healthier version of themselves. All of which, is admirable, but sometimes I think we focus on the outside and ignore what’s going on inside our body! 1 Timothy 4:8 reminds us, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” I’m not saying don’t exercise, I’m saying make sure to lose the weight of sin first! The best is yet to come and we need to be prepared!

Read: Luke 22:14-20

Consider: What did you say? Why did I pick Scripture that talks about eating? Ha! I obviously chose it to torture all of the hungry dieters that are in their fourth week of training! Not! I chose this Scripture because since we are in a New Year, I thought it would be a great time to look at the New Covenant Jesus made when He became the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world. So let’s dive in: When Jesus died on the cross as the payment for our sins, He died for all the sins of the world – past, present, and future. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” I can’t even imagine how heavy that load must have felt. I know the weight of my own sin has felt crushing, suffocating, and debilitating; imagine our perfect Savior, who knew no sin, having the weight of all the sin of the world on His shoulders! We often focus on the physical pain Christ suffered on the cross, but I think the most painful part was bearing the weight of the world’s sin on His shoulders and His Father having to turn away from Him (Mark 15:34). Jesus took our place on that cross, and in doing so, had to endure the separation from His Father that we deserve. What love! I cannot comprehend such undeserving, all-consuming, faithful love! 1 John 4:9 tells us, “In this the love of God was manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”

What does the cross tell us? The cross tells us our good isn’t good enough. Jesus paid a debt for us that we could not pay for ourselves. He did it freely and completely. Our works can’t save us, redeem us, or make us righteous in the eyes of our God. Ephesians 2:8-9 explains, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

The cross allows us to draw close to God. Colossians 1:21-22 declares, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” And because Jesus serves as our Great High Priest, we are able to boldly approach the throne of grace as Hebrews 4:16 reminds us, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

The cross makes room for us at the banquet table of Christ! Luke 13:29 says, “And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Come and dine! (Don’t worry it’s keto, juicing, south beach, and all other diets friendly). Galatians 3:26 reveals, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” Christ’s sacrifice allows for us to call His Father our Father! Abba!

Jesus was not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance as seen in 2 Peter 3:9. You know those little pieces of yourself that you’ve hidden away because you are ashamed of them? Jesus knows about them and He loves you anyway. 1 John 1:8-9 tells us, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteousness.”

Jesus sees you. Jesus knows you. Jesus loves you. Jesus desires for you to join His family. Romans 8:15 proclaims, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, Abba! Father!” Come on now and let the weight go.

To-Do: How do you plan on lightening up on the inside? What are some resolutions you can make to ensure those “pounds” stay off?


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