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Summary: Faith is wonderful to talk about, but sometimes we just can’t seem to believe the promises of God that are given to us.

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Faith for the Race

Hebrews 12:1-2

The life of a Christian can be described in one of four ways:

1 a journey,

2 a battle,

3 a pilgrimage,

4 a race.

Select your own metaphor, but the necessity to finish is always the same.

1 For if life is a journey, it must be completed.

2 If life is a battle, it must be finished.

3 If life is a pilgrimage, it must be concluded.

4 And if it is a race, it must be won.

Obstacle: The Age of Anxiety

A wife called the doctor one morning, saying, “Doctor, come quick! It’s my husband!”

“What’s the matter?” he calmly replied.

“Well, he got up this morning and took his vitamin pill. Then he took his appetite suppressant, his anti-depressant, and his tranquilizer. He also took an antihistamine and some Benzedrine. Then he lit a cigarette, and there was this explosion!”

Heb 12:1-2 KJV

12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Running the race

Two attorneys, Cary Babcock and Gordon Lee, took a safari vacation in the African backcountry. One day, they took a rest, removed their packs, and leaned their rifles against a tree. They were startled when a large, hungry-looking lion emerged from the jungle and began eyeing them with anticipation.

It was clear that the attorneys’ rifles were too far away to do them any good. Babcock began to remove his shoes, and Lee asked him why he was doing that.

Babcock replied, "Because I can run faster without them."

Lee declared, "I don’t care how fast you can run. You’ll never out race that lion."

The now barefoot Babcock told him, "I don’t have to outrun the lion. I just have to outrun you."

Faith for running the race

Faith is wonderful to talk about, but sometimes we just can’t seem to believe the promises of God, that are given to us. There have been so many disappointments in our lives, that nothing can change our reasoning. We believe that God will provides for other people, but not us. We convince ourselves that their prayers will be answered, and not ours.

As Satan seeks to defeat us, he will remind you of your past failures, over, and over, again. If you listen to him, with weak faith, you will surrender the power of a faithful life. With a lack of courage the past will equal the present, or even the future. The race will be lost.

Fear or Faith

To withstand Satan’s attacks, we equip our soul with the armor God provides. He outfits us completely for our task. Having every weapon and piece of armor available, God orders us to stand and contest the evil one. Satan counts on us to be afraid—Jesus counts on us to have courage.

Most prefer to take the easy way out

In his book, Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes, "There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him.

"Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons, but the instructor wanted $5 a lesson. It was cheaper to pay the bully, so I gave up karate."

Too many Christians believe it’s easier to pay the bully than learn how to defeat him.

Satan’s strategy is to stop the race.

Satan is not warring over those who are in the world, for he already has them in his grasp. His war is to conquer those who are sitting in the pew. Those who have been reconciled, he longs to take hostage once again. His strategy is deceptive, because he uses them to hinder the work of the church.

First, he deludes them with other goals in life which soon take priority over the work of the church and personal involvement. They become members of the body which become dysfunctional.

Hands that will not work.

Feet that will not travel to God’s appointed place.

A mouth that will not confess Jesus to others.

Ears that soon fail to listen.

A brain that refuses to think and dwell on things above.

Lame, blind and deaf, the church struggles to fulfill its purpose.

Second, he lures them into complacency. Having become satisfied with less than God’s desire for their lives.

1. They settle for adolescence rather than maturing to adulthood, while at the same time believing they are adults.

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