Friday, October 15, 2010

Achilles Heel


Hebrews 12:1 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.


This "huge crowd of witnesses" is composed of the people described in chapter 11. Their faithfulness is a constant encouragement to us. We do not struggle alone, and we are not the first to struggle with the problems we face. Others have run the race and won, and their witness stirs us to run and win also. What an inspiring heritage we have!

Long-distance runners work hard to build endurance and strength. On race day, their clothes are lightweight and their bodies lean. To run the race that God has set before us, we must also strip off the excess weight that slows us down. How can we do that? (1) Choose friends who are also committed to the race. Wrong friends will have values and activities that may deter you from the course. Much of your own weight may result from the crowd you run with. Make wise choices. (2) Drop certain activities. That is, for you at this time these may be weight. Try dropping them for a while; then check the results in your life. (3) Get help for addictions that disable you. If you have a secret "weight" such as pornography, gambling, or alcohol, admit your need and get help today.


Achilles, the Greek hero of the Trojan War, was invulnerable, with one exception: his heel. Shoot him there and he'd go down. Guess what? He died from an arrow to the heel! We all have our Achilles' heel - the 'sin that so easily trips us up'. Here, blindness, indifference or denial sets us up for failure.

So how do we overcome our Achilles' heel? Author John Piper offers us a solution in the form of an acronym: ANTHEM.

A: avoid sights and situations that arouse unfitting desires. Prevent what fuels your appetite for sin.

N: say no to every lustful thought within five seconds. In the first two seconds shout 'No, get out of my head!' In the next two, cry out, 'Oh God, in the name of Jesus, help me. Save me now. I am yours.' Say it out loud. The Puritan writer John Owen said, 'Be killing sin, or it will be killing you.'
T: turn the mind forcefully towards Christ. Attack sin with the promises of Christ.

H: hold the promise and pleasure of Christ firmly in mind. For how long? Until it pushes other images out. Hold it. Don't let it go. Hold it until you win!

E: enjoy a superior satisfaction, namely, pleasure in Christ. If you have little taste for Jesus, competing pleasures will triumph.

M: move into useful activity, away from idleness and other vulnerable behaviours. Abound in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Replace deceitful lusts with a passion for good deeds. Today, using this simple acronym, you can move from vulnerability to victory by drawing on the power of God's Spirit within you (Galatians 5:25):

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit."


"Lord, help me to be aware of my spiritual 'Achilles heel', blind spots in my life that will set me up for failure if I do not keep in step with the Spirit. Help me today to memorize and live by this 'ANTHEM' acrostic. I thank You for the victory. In Jesus' name!"