Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hindrances During the Race

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 

2 Timothy 4:6-7

As the apostle Paul neared the end of his life, he could confidently say he had been faithful to his call.  We are in a race called life.  Are we able to say, we have been faithful to the call our LORD has placed before us?  As we continue in the race set before us, we will be faced with hindrances.  At times, we will be faced with a God-imposed hindrance.  God may be slowing us down to place a ministry opportunity in our path.  Sometimes because of a hindrance, we are in the right place at the right time to minister to another in the name of Jesus Christ.  Then there are times when hindrances enter our race which are caused by other people, Satan, and even ourselves.  How will we continue? 

In Luke 11:52, we notice the experts in the law were making God’s truth hard to understand.  Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge.  You yourselves have not entered and you have hindered those who were entering.  Legalistic people like the experts in the law, heap burdens on others that they themselves can’t keep.  We must be careful to not become legalistic and hinder others from the free gift of salvation. 

In Thessalonians 2:18, we see Paul declaring to the people that he wanted to come see them but Satan blocked his way.  1 Thessalonians 2:18 – For we wanted to come to you – certainly I, Paul did, again and again – but Satan blocked our way.  Satan is on the prowl and desires to keep apart brothers and sisters in Christ who together would serve great kingdom purposes.  Satan is pleased when he is able to divide the body of Christ.  We must stand guard over our hearts and not let Satan deceive us and keep us from great kingdom purposes. 

Other hindrances you may have in your race could be because you choose not to lay them down.  Guilt can be a hindrance to you.  After we have repented of our sin and accepted the precious gift of forgiveness from our LORD, we must lay our guilt aside.  Satan likes to hang the hindrance of guilt around our necks to keep us from fulfilling God’s purposes for us.  Holding on to the past can be a hindrance.  We must release the past and run toward our future that God has specifically preordained for us.  Philippians 3:13-14 – Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  We need to accept our forgiveness from our LORD and move on to a life of faith and obedience.  Our focus should be on Christ.  Bitterness can also hinder us as we carry out our God given purpose.  Bitterness is a root which will entangle us on our race if we choose not to lay it aside.  It eats away at our insides and is exhibited in our behavior towards others.  It will keep us from fulfilling our God given calling if not dealt with.  Hebrews 12:15 – See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 

We need to recognize that a hindrance is not always sinful.  If it is interfering with the path God has placed you on, it is a hindrance and must be cast aside.  These types of hindrances are the hardest to release.  They may not be wrong, but at the moment they are just not right.  They are hindering the race God has placed before you. 

Prayerfully ask God to reveal what in your life is a hindrance.  Then ask for God’s strength to help you cast it aside.  Blessings abound when we are obedient and faithful to our Savior and LORD.  Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore, 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. 

Dear Heavenly Father, reveal to us the things, thoughts, and attitudes which are a hindrance to our faith walk.  LORD, when You reveal to us what is hindering our God given race, provide us with strength to cast it aside.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen. 


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