Pastoral Storm Warning
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1)
Last night I was watching Monday night football when suddenly the game disappeared and in its place was a severe thunderstorm warning from the National Weather Service. We almost never get these so it felt strange, and because we saw no evidence of severe weather outside, we wondered if the warning was warranted. But apparently a weak tornado did form in Battle Ground, knocking out power to a couple thousand people.
I don’t know what things look like in and around your life right now, but I am compelled to offer a general pastoral warning from Hebrews 12 to watch out for sins that can so easily trip you up and cause a nasty fall. These trip hazards are not dangerous simply because they lay across our path. We have an enemy who lies in wait to jerk the lines taught just as we round the corner hoping to take us down. Our harm is his pleasure.
This phenomenon is always true, so you may wonder what prompted me to ‘interrupt this programming’ with an alert. The answer is that in the last few weeks I have seen a significant spike in the number of people struggling with damaging hazards: selfishness and stubbornness in marriage, addiction to alcohol or porn, and bondage to fear and anxiety are some of the most common.
I hope this note finds you fixing your eyes on Jesus and running with perseverance the race marked out for you. If so, this warning is merely a good reminder to be alert. But if you have become entangled in some problem, say so! Helping one another finish our race is one of the primary functions of the church body.