What is the greatest thing you can do in 2019? Perhaps you want to lose weight, pay off debt, travel, or learn something new. Maybe you desire to revitalize your marriage or reconnect with lost friends. Goals are important. They help keep us alive and give hope.
In the same way, Jesus had a goal that gave him hope. The bible says, "Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:3b NASB). The goal was the right hand of God and the burden was the cross.
It is easy to grow weary in our ambition for success. We want to lose weight, but we may be surrounded by those who glutton themselves on pizza and donuts. We want to pay off debt, but we live in a culture of instant everything and selfish ambitions. We want to travel, but we also live in a competitive culture of home buying and portfolio building. We want to learn something new, but we may be surrounded by the naysayers who tell us we'll never be able to do it. Hebrews gives us a little more insight to our burden in our Christianity,
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart" (Hebrews 12:1-3 NASB).
The barrier in front of Jesus' goal was the cross, but what enabled him to endure? The week leading up to the cross, Jesus was asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" In other words, "In the midst of enduring your burden, what is the greatest thing?" Jesus unsurprisingly responds, "Love God and Love Others" (Paraphrase of Matthew 22:34ff). It was His love for the Father and His love for others that enabled Him to endure the cross. Love wins.
Similarly, what will enable us to endure? What will carry us through? It is love for God and love for others. When we love God more than food, we will endure, and lose weight. When we love God more than stuff, we will endure, and pay off debt or travel. When we love God more than the opinions of others, we will endure, and learn something new. When we love God more than we love ourselves, we will endure, and become a better spouse.
The greatest thing in 2019 is Love God and Love others. This year, love more than you've ever loved before.
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