Summary: This the second of 4 based on an Olympic theme. I used many sources including several from Sermon Central
Go for the Gold
The Olympics: If you have ever watched the Olympics on TV. you have probably been amazed at the feats the human body is capable of doing! It has always amazed me how some of these people have spent their entire childhood preparing for a single event that in some cases is over within a few minutes! The amount of training and sacrifice is enormous...all for a single goal....a Gold medal and world wide recognition that you are the best in humanity in that particular thing!
Since we are striving toward a more eternal reward, and more important recognition by God, are we as willing to make the appropriate sacrifices and practice the necessary discipline?
This is Paul’s point in Hebrews 12. The writer has in mind the same thing that we have witnessed every 4 years, for the Olympics were taking place already in the Apostolic age.
This morning is our second in the series called "Go For The Gold." If you are going to become a spiritual champion you must throw off all that hinders or entangles!
Don’t Let Anything Slow You Down
“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…”
Runners wear very little. They avoid anything that might distract or hinder them in their efforts. So those competing in the spiritual race need to REMOVE THE THINGS THAT HINDER.
Think for a minute (shudder!) about your winter overcoat. It’s heavy & cumbersome. It’s a good piece of clothing to have - when it’s cold outside.
Now think about all the joggers you have ever seen – or about yourself if you are a runner.
Runners put aside everything that could possibly hinder them. They don’t want anything to keep them from reaching their goal.
Can you imagine trying to run while wearing that winter overcoat of yours? You wouldn’t last more than a few hundred yards at the most. The thought is unbearable!
That’s what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Those things that hinder us, whatever they might be, throw them off! If you are going to finish the race you have to willing to get rid of whatever slows you down.
Get Rid of the Extra Weight! A more literally rendering of the Greek word here translated as “hinders” is weight. The RSV says, “let us also lay aside every weight.”
The ancient athletes used to practice running with weights strapped to them kind of like the modern ankle and wrist weights that you may see some people use today. The idea was to build up their strength during their training. Of course they would lay aside these weights when it was time to actually compete. What would help them during training by building muscle would hinder them during the race by slowing them down.
You see we need to be aware that at some point the things that have helped us can hinder us. We need to realize that at some point we may need to lay these things aside and go on without them. These things are not necessarily wrong or sinful. They just aren’t the best.
Not all of our choices are between black and white. Not all of our choices are between what is right and what is wrong. Many of our choices are between what is good and what is best. Those are the really tough choices. Sometimes we have to give up what is good to gain what is best.
Two Stepping with Rick and Donna. Several years ago Donna and took some classes to learn how to Country Line Dance and Two Stepping. It was fun because we went with a couple of other couples from church but to our amazement we watched one of the couples start going more and more until it consumed all of their available time and most of their discretionary income.
Now, there is nothing wrong with two stepping that I can see – Donna and I had a lot of fun right up until we had to learn the spins and Donna got dizzy… (She’s always been a dizzy blonde!) But when something other than God begins to consume your life – that is not good. And frankly that can be anything from drugs, booze and partying to any number of sports activities, TV surfing, Internet browsing, or anything that sucks up your time and energy and leaves nothing for God.
Summer is a time when we all travel and vacation. The kids are busy with softball, hardball, soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, and band camp. We’re busy taking them to games, tournaments, practices sessions, work, as well as our own time to “recreate”. Be careful you don’t leave God out… You teach your children what is important by what you value in life.