Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (NASB)

The new year will be full of surprises. As diligently as you may plan, tomorrow, next week, or next month is a puzzle to all but God. Your supreme purpose, then, for this year is to walk in harmony with His predetermined will by employing three essential disciplines:

1. Lay aside every encumbrance and sin. Willful sin or unproductive habits hinder your spiritual growth. By His grace ask Him to help you abandon these unnecessary weights.

2. Concentrate on endurance. Do not let disappointments or setbacks take you out of the race. Accept that they, too, are part of the course God has divinely planned.

3. Focus on Jesus. Turn away from all that distracts. Look by faith steadfastly to Him. Cast your burdens on Him. Seek His face daily through personal prayer and sustained intake of His Word.

A fixed focus of faith on Jesus Christ will lighten your load, equip you to handle the tough times, and guide you into His will for your life in this new year.

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