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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Obstacles


"Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls" (Hebrews 12:2-3, The Message).
What would you think of the runner who gave up when faced with the first obstacle in a race? That obstacle is meant to lift him upward―to inspire him to greater ability and not pull him back. What about your life and the race you are running for Jesus Christ? What is your reaction when you face obstacles in your Christian walk? Do you allow them to lift you to greater heights of faith in Him, or defeat you before you reach the finish line? Life will always present obstacles. It is what you do with these obstacles that inspire victory or claim defeat.
What is your obstacle at this moment? Keep your eyes on Jesus. Learn about how He was able to finish His race. He never lost sight of the promise at the end. He overcame the obstacles in His way―shame, ridicule, the cross. Nothing He faced defeated His race to the finish. No weapon that came against Him defeated Him. When you face your obstacles remember the hatred that Jesus faced. Remember His commitment and obedience to stay the course. He held out to the end of His race for your sake.
Running your race in Jesus Christ takes spiritual exercise. You must be “stretched to the maximum” for the greatest benefit! That involves pain. With exercise that pain lessens, and “spiritual” muscle mass forms. You begin to toughen and grow spiritually. You have greater strength to overcome each obstacle. When you feel you have lost your wind and can't jump another obstacle, the Holy Spirit grants a second wind that carries you farther along. Just as a runner experiences well-being from his body producing endorphin, when you are “stretched to the maximum” you receive spiritual endorphin from the Holy Spirit that brings joy and peace. Obstacles are meant to stretch and drive you to His Word and to Him in prayer. When you learn who He is and what He overcame for you, His Word “shoots adrenaline into your soul”. Prayer draws you closer to the peace of His presence. Obstacles then have the ability to inspire and not defeat you.

Are you ready to really run your race? Will you move forward, facing and springing over each obstacle with greater spiritual growth? Or will you run and hide and never discover the power He wishes to impart? Rise above your fears and stretch yourself to believe Him. Be diligent and committed to succeed. Allow each obstacle in life to challenge you to greater strength. Refuse any feelings of failure, and don't dwell on what the last obstacle did to you. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He began this work in you, and He will complete it. Trust in His power to face all that comes in life. Run your race until the obstacles of life no longer have the power to defeat you, but carry you victoriously to the finish.

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