We’ve been getting some complaints about the way you talk so much about Jesus. If you want to keep your job with this firm, knock it off …”
How can you hang tough with what you believe when there is so much pressure – tough pressure – to make you let it go? Hebrews 12:1-3 answers that question with practical tips. We covered the first one, about the “great cloud of witnesses,” here: “Keep the Faith – Part 1.”
Here is how that passage continues:
Want to hang tough with faith? Pull up your socks and tie your shoes! Get rid of anything that will slow you down or trip you up.
Things that slow you down (floppy socks) include anything you don’t need but have been carrying through life out of habit or laziness. In her younger years, my daughter used to want to take all of her stuffed animals with her on cross-country trips in the car. Sometimes she would be nearly buried in the pile of fuzzy objects in the back seat of the car. But there came a time when she realized all those toys were getting in her way. We all have stuff like that in our lives.
It is time to take inventory and pitch a bunch of stuff. After I retired, I spent about a month fixing up my woodshop so I could work in it again. You wouldn’t believe all the useless crap I hauled out to the dumpster. But now it feels good out there; I can actually see the workbench and get right to work. You watch Olympic athletes getting ready for track events and the first thing they do is take off everything they don’t need – from jackets and sweats to jewelry – just so they can run faster. Did you know that sailboat racers spend time scrubbing the dirt and algae off the hulls of their boats?
i don’t know what stuff you have loading you down and slowing you down in life, but you do! When you “pull up your socks,” you become stronger and more effective. It is easier to resist the world’s pressure.
If the “floppy socks” in your life slow you down, the sins (untied shoelaces) actually trip you up. They stop your progress. Picture a runner who is competing pretty well, right up there with the leaders. As they round the final turn, he steps on an untied shoelace and loses his balance. His legs begin to windmill wildly as he fights to stay up. But then he goes down, sprawled awkwardly on the track cinders. He gets up, he finishes the race, but it’s not the same. Sin works like that.
I have no idea what your “shoelaces” look like. But you do! “Tie ’em up!” Don’t get tripped up.
When the world comes after your faith, tries to hold you back or knock you down, first, remember that you are a member of a great team, stretching back through history, a team that has left an indelible legacy of powerful acts of faith. Secondly, pull up your socks and tie your shoes. Get rid of anything that’s slowing you down or tripping you up.