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Summary: By the grace of God you can turn your failures and challenges in life into positive life lessons.

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Turn Life’s Challenges Into Positive Life Lessons

Hebrews 12:1

Introduction:

Pastor Ray comes from the back of the church down the aisle with a back pack and carrying a number items including: small TV, tennis racquet, cell phone, etc.

I’m sorry I’m late but I am slowed down by the weights I carrying. I appreciation this congregation being my witness encouraging me to finish the race of being more and more like Jesus. My problem is I sometimes get hindered in my race by things: television and tennis racquet represent leisure and entertainment. They are not bad things, unless we spend too much time at them so we don’t have time to follow Christ. The Day timer represents work. We can spend so much energy in secular work we have no energy to work for the Lord. Car keys represent materials possessions. These things are not evil in themselves, but we must guard against anything that would hinder our progress in the spiritual race of a life running with Jesus.

I. To Finish the Race put off everything that hinders you.

Hebrews 12:1 calls us to lay aside every weight and strip off every hindrance that slows us down… We are to remove any hindrance or encumbrance that keeps us from finishing the race. We must get rid of any excess we are carrying in our life.

Kip Kandae from Kenya has a unique way of training. Kip is single, no wife and no kids. He is a dedicated runner and nature lover. He has a number of pets. He is especially fond of a boa constrictor. He raised it from a small snake. He kept the snake in his jacket while running. Over the years it has grown and now he trains with a six feet long boa constrictor on his shoulders. Because of the snake I imagine he runs alone. He hopes for a gold metal when he runs in the Olympics without the weight of his boa constrictor on his shoulders.

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.”

There are a number of sins that can trip you up on your race for Christ-like holy living. Whatever the weight or hindrance – anger, bitterness, lying, envy, sexual sins, throw them off.

What is your besetting sin? _____________ is my sin slowing down my progress on the highway of holiness. (Fill in the blank of your besetting sin)

If you are going to run cross country you don’t put on the heaviest hiking boots you can find. You don’t wear a football uniform for protection if your fall. You don’t carry a back pack of snacks with a gallon of water.

Don’t let any weights or sins entangle you as you run. Hebrew 12:1 is a picture of a runner tying to run with twine or weeds wrapped around his/her feet.

It could be sins you refuse to give up.

It could be burdens or grudges that you refuse to lay down.

It could be the entanglements of this world that you give a greater priority than your spiritual race.

The Christian race is more of a marathon than a 100 yard dash.

You may have had failures in running the race of holiness. You need to throw off the weight of failure and achieve victory. Whatever your besetting sin – number one sin – you need to conquer. Remember commiting sin is a choice.

#Ben Johnson is an example of a winner and a loser. In 1987 he set a world record of 9.83 seconds in the 100 meter dash in Rome defeating US runner Carl Lewis. A year and half later they raced in Zurich, Switzerland and Lewis won in 9.93 seconds.

Both Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis raced in the South Korea 24th Olympiad in 1988. Lewis ran his personal best, 9.92 seconds but Ben Johnson set another winning time of 9.79 seconds setting a new record for the 100 meter race. This made Johnson the fastest human ever.

It was a proud moment in Canadian athletic history that quickly turned into a nightmare. Only 62 hours later Olympic officials entered Johnson’s room and walked out with his gold medal. Ben Johnson had tested positive for steroid use. The Canadian sports establishment was scandalized. Johnson lost millions in endorsements and sponsorship fees and he was suspended from competition for two years.

By an act of your will you choose to say “no” to unrighteousness and look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. When properly motivated you run for your life.

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