Summary: On your mark, get set, GO . . . We are all running. Life is a race. To run well, you must run smart.
Pt. 3 – Hurdles
As I have been telling you I was a runner in high school. I joined my school’s Cross Country Team and begin to train! (Slide 2) By finishing 11th in State I earned my letterman’s jacket.
Out of the lessons that I learned running we have talked about Indian Running. This is the concept of encouraging one another and helping those coming after you to run faster. Last week we talked about the concept that running hurts and the only way to endure is to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, to recognize that pain is an indication of our Father’s love, it is our birthmark, it makes us legitimate, and if we will endure we will harvest righteousness and peace.
Let’s go back to our text!
1Therefore, 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 week I want to discuss a topic that I have no experience in. I could run and occasionally on our cross country courses small items were placed in our way, like a hay bale. However, in all of my running, I never ran hurdles. Here is why:
I knew if I ran hurdles that would be me! Hurdles have been around a long time. The 110 Meter Hurdles was an original event in the first modern Olympics in 1896. Hurdles are part of the race!
The writer of Hebrews recognizes this and begins this 12th chapter by talking about barriers and hurdles. He makes a statement that I just want to allude to before we begin to talk about hurdles. He says to lay aside every sin that so easily entangles us. Why are we so easy? We make the devil’s life too easy. It should be hard to derail us, detour us, and deter us, but instead we are easy victims. We play into his hands. Quit being such an easy target! Quit being such an easy mark. Become so difficult to entangle that the devil dreads going to work. Make him sweat. Some of you give in without a fight! Look at your neighbor and tell them “Your too easy!” Make the devil earn his keep!
So let’s talk about hurdles for a few moments today.
1. They are called hurdles on purpose!
This is elementary, but profound. The definition of “hurdle” is (Slide 5b&c) “A light portable barrier, a portable panel for temporary fences.”
Did you hear it? Hurdles are called hurdles because they are portable and temporary. They are not called walls! They are temporary. They are not permanent.
My point is they are called hurdles because we are supposed to deal with them momentarily and then move on. So why is that most of the Christians that I have met have turned pit stops into parking lots? Why is it that many of you are being stopped and stymied by something you were intended and empowered to overcome, dominate and take dominion over?
Paul says “lay it aside”. In other words, he is simply saying get over it and move on! Get past them and keep running.
We let momentary obstacles become permanent dwelling places. Quit turning hurdles into habitations!
Some of you are still being stopped by depression that you should have conquered years ago.
Some of you are still fighting insecurities that you should have already grown out of.
Some of you are still hung up on addictions that you should have whipped into submission decades ago.
Some of you are still giving into lust that you should have beaten into surrender long ago.
You have allowed a hurdle to become more than a temporary stop or portable barrier. It was never intended to bring you to a complete standstill, but you have failed to lay it aside. I want you to also notice who Paul puts the emphasis on in this passage. He doesn’t say pray and fast to get enough power to overcome the hurdle. He says LET US lay aside these things. We are to take responsibility for our own hurdles and recognize that we give things that should be easily crossed more power in our lives than they have earned or deserve. There are things that happen to you (pain – shin splints and side stitches) that you can’t do much about except endure. Hurdles are different. Lay aside. They are obstacles that you have authority to overcome. They stand in your way, but you allow them to stop you!
2. Hurdles are conquered in steps.
The ultimate goal of every hurdler (in the short race) is to 3 step each hurdle. A young runner works his/her way into 3 steps between the hurdles. They count their steps and they work through their steps to get over the hurdle.