This is Day 4 in our series IS YOUR YEAR ON TRACK. I am sharing some of my secrets to help keep our year on track. If you missed the other posts, why not go back and dig into those first and then come back to this post–you won’t want to miss them! Here is where you will find those posts:
Today, we will look at a BIG secret to keeping your year on track–overcoming obstacles! This one is essential! Just hang on tight!
THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1-2 (The Message)
Do you know the number one reason that most people do not reach their goals, resolutions, and dreams? Yep, it is that every time they get started moving forward, they hit obstacles. Those obstacles frustrate, dishearten, and discourage in such a way that we often wonder if it is worth the effort. Found that to be a struggle for you? Think about those dreams that you have:
To build a godly home
To have a passionate, forever, happier-and-happier-ever-after marriage
To train up godly children
To get fit and healthy
To begin that business/ministry
To write that book
To get and live debt free
To homeschool your children
To build your own house
To finish that course of study
To…..what is YOUR dream? Did I leave it out? THAT TOO…
Ok…think about it.
You know what you want. You have that vision. But, every time you get started, something happens–there are obstacles to getting started and keeping going everywhere you look. It actually FEELS like opposition.
My sweet friend, there IS opposition. There are obstacles. REAL opposition! REAL obstacles!
You have an enemy who cannot stand the idea that you would reach for your life purpose. He can’t stand the thought of you reaching for your dreams. He is intent upon discouraging and distracting you on every turn. This is one of his key weapons against you. Funny thing, he is not very creative. He has been using the same old tactics for thousands of years. If you can get an action plan for battling him, you can press past the obstacles and press toward the mark. Yes! YOU! That is what today’s post is all about.
Wondering how to press past the obstacles? Want to stay on track? Want to know the secrets to pressing toward your mark and finishing well? Perfect! Here are some of the things God has taught me…
1. Know who is setting up the obstacles!
This is KEY! Have you ever got started moving toward your dream and everything “broke loose?” You got moving, but there was opposition on every angle? You decided to try again, but there were booby traps, landmines, and obstacles EVERYWHERE?
Sure! We have ALL been there!
Just try to start that book you have dreamed of writing–kids fall to pieces, hubby feels like you are not paying attention to him, house seems to get messier, EVERYONE calls wanting something…on and on.
Commit to get out of debt–get a flat tire, kids get sick, hubby gets a pay-cut, and every appliance in the house breaks!
Get that gym membership and new running shoes–that day your throat gets sore, you can’t get everything done that day so you have time to get to the gym, your hubby has to work and cannot watch the kids for you, and you can’t even find your gym clothes…on and on.
Got the picture?
What is our first thought? TYPICALLY, our first thought is, “Oh! GOD must not want for me to do this right now.” Am I right? Come on. Don’t we just immediately go there?
We assume that if there are obstacles, perhaps we have all of heaven opposing our goals, resolutions, and dreams. In fact, even if WE don’t think along those lines, you can be assured that those around us will go there and be sure to tell us! Yet, this is the furthest from the truth!
The truth is, first, God does not keep secrets from us. If He does not want for us to do something, He is very, very clear. He is not going to zap us to get our attention. He is definitely NOT into setting booby traps, landmines, and obstacles in our way to get us to hear Him and follow Him. Remember, Scripture tells us that His sheep know HIS VOICE and follow HIM. So, we are not hearing HIM in the midst of chaos, confusion, and crisis situations.
So, WHO is busy at work with all of that? You can see the fruits and immediately tell that the one at work in the midst of chaos, confusion, and crisis situations is our enemy–the devil. Sweet friend, we have an enemy who does not want to see us moving forward. He cannot stand to see us on track. He does everything in his power to distract, disrupt, discourage, defeat and derail us! Again, he is not very clever or original. He just knows what will get us off track. He knows the very things that will punch our buttons.
Want to make this year count? Want to reach for your dreams this year? Want to stay on track and reach those goals bit-by-bit? This is key!
KNOW who is setting up your obstacles! When you do, you will know if you have just missed it or if this is DEFINITELY the way to go. You will know whether you are supposed to pull back and go another direction OR if you are supposed to dig in and stand firm.
Go back to that verse in Hebrews 12: 1-2…
THEREFORE THEN, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us, Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12: 1-2
In this verse, we see all that we need to do to get ready to run the race that God has set before us. Let’s make a list…
–> Strip off and throw aside every encumbrance and unnecessary weight.
This is GOOD! Ok, what is it that keeps you from moving forward? We all have our list:
What keeps YOU from moving forward?
Today is the day to strip off and throw aside that encumbrance. Today is the day to get rid of that weight. It will feel SOooo good! Get rid of it! We can’t carry it where we are called to go. Let it go!
–> Strip off and throw aside that sin that is deftly and cleverly clinging to and entangling you.
I was watching some videos that made me just sick to my stomach yesterday. They were videos of the Westboro Baptist protests at the funerals of our soldiers and some of their TV interviews. I will not begin to share what I think about this–I will say upfront that I believe this group is a cult, not a Baptist church (that is as far as I will go today). But, one thing stuck out–they are radically spreading the word about sin, but they have a blindspot about their own sin. I have never seen a better picture of the “ugliness” in a person judging others and hating others. It is just sad. They are entangled in their own sin. They are not running the race faithfully. And, look at all of the innocent people that they are hurting along the way. HINT: if we are hurting others all along the way, we may want to check “what we are wearing around” and strip it OFF, throw it aside! It will hinder us from running the race.
This passage tells us to strip off and throw aside that sin that deftly, quickly, cleverly, and skillfully clings to us.
Oh! This is just IT! It is sooo easy to get moving out and be blind to the burden that we are lugging around. It is sooo easy to get ready to run the race and forget to let our Heavenly Father loose to breakaway the chains that are binding us.
Our sins are very clever. They fool us. We try to JUSTIFY our sins, but sins are only justified by confession, repentance, and faith in Christ. Until we are honest about our own sins, they are obstacles to running the race. We all have them.
Our church began revival yesterday. I LOVED it! The pastor gave a good example of what I am saying here. He shared what Jesus had saved him from. In fact, Jesus has saved me from the same lifestyle. I don’t want to drink, smoke, party, carouse, etc. Sound good? It is easy to think that we are doing good, but still wonder why we are sidetracked. All it takes is ONE PET SIN! No, I do not even feel tempted to touch anything alcoholic. I do not feel the least bit tempted to touch any tobacco products or drugs. I am not tempted toward that partying and carousing lifestyle. But, there is one sin that has deftly, cleverly, and skillfully clung to me–that of overeating. UGH!
It is a hindrance today. It is an obstacle. I can’t run my race the way that Christ has called me to run it with this sin clinging on.
Have your “pet sin” too? Have that thing that you just find yourself falling into? Is there a sin that just trips you up? If you say, “NO” to this one, you know that you are not being honest. And, that sin is SIN.
Sin separates us from God. Sin cuts off His power from flowing in our lives. Sin keeps us tripped up and derailed. We cannot run the race without stipping off and throwing aside sin. Sin is a burden that cannot be carried along as we run the race.
Sweet friend, get ready to run the race! Today, let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us.
Yep! We are back here again! If you missed the first key to helping you get your year on track, go back and dig into it HERE.
Not only is your pace important for staying on track, it is also important if you want to run the race faithfully, navigating AROUND the obstacles in your path!
Go back to Hebrews 12: 1-2. Take a peek at this part again,
“…and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.”
I didn’t mention it the other day, but another reason that we need to set our pace is because if we don’t go OUR pace, we will be more prone to trip up on the obstacles in our path and get hurt. I learned this during my first 5K.
My first 5K was the Millenial 5K. I loved it! It began 15 minutes before midnight on December 31 and ran into the new year. I loved it! Well, except where I hit my first big obstacle–a crack in the road. It was dark (of course), I was running as fast as I could (this was before God taught me about getting MY PACE), and I hit that crack hard. I sprang my ankle–another big obstacle!! I finished the race, but I was definitely set back. It took 4 months to rehabilitate my ankle and get back to running.
Don’t take that PACE for granted! Our “race” is an individual race. God is looking for us to run our race, our pace–and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us.
Get your pace! Get a pace that is patient, enduring, steady, and persistent. Don’t push yourself to reach for some unreasonable expectation. Run that appointed course that God has set before you. When you set YOUR PACE, you can do it! When you set YOUR PACE, you can navigate around those obstacles. Set YOUR PACE and run YOUR RACE!
Yes! Keep your eyes on Jesus! Oh! I just LOVE that part of Hebrews 12: 1-2 that says, “Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus.” I love it!
When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will keep on track. The enemy KNOWS this! That is why he is constantly on the prowl, roaring, pouncing, and banting around. That is exactly why he is busy setting up obstacles in our lives. He wants for us to be distracted by what we see right there at the step that we are on instead of looking onward toward our precious Jesus.
5. Overcome the Obstacles!
I love the passage in Romans 8: 37…
Yet amid all these things (vs-35–suffering, affliction, tribulation, calamity, distress, persecution, hunge4r, destitution, peril or sword) we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us.
Soak that in!
Whatever you are going through today, there is SUPER news! You are MORE THAN A CONQUEROR! Whatever you are dealing with, YOU WILL ovecome it! HOOT! You will gain a “surpassing” victory. Surpassing means–exceeding, exceptional, better, greater, beyond the limit. Talk about victory! This is what you and I are called to walk in–TODAY! This is OURS! Soak that in!
Got obstacles? Work around them! Leap over them! Push past them! Sweet friend, don’t let them slow you down or stop you ever again! You are MORE than a conqueror! So, that brings me to my closing verse…
Turn with me to 1 Corinthians 4: 16-18 (The Message). We will end with this…
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
You have the race before you….
Are you running the race?
Do you see obstacles in your path? What are they? WHO IS putting them before you?
Are there things that need to be stripped off and thrown aside? Will you do that today?
Are you going your pace? Running YOUR race?
Are you keeping your eyes on Jesus?
Will you press in and overcome the obstacles?
Share one takeaway that will help you to keep your year on track.
BTW–I am cheering you on! We are going to reach for our dreams together this year!! I love you!