Run Your Race!

Series:  Momma Said. . .

Lesson for the Week of April 28 – May 4, 2021

AIM: After studying this lesson, students should know that they are in a race, not to come in first but to complete the Christian race; REALIZE that no one can run their race and that they cannot run someone else’s race; but they can set an EXAMPLE for others to follow; plus, be an encourager to others to complete the race.

INTRODUCTION:

Growing up our mothers would say things that didn’t make sense to us THEN, but now they do!  During the month of May, we will take a look at things “momma said” that shows us today how much wisdom she had.  True, we have more education, but momma had wisdom, common sense.  How many of you know that common sense is not “common” in this day and age!  One piece of advice she gave us was to “Run YOUR Race!”  You can’t run someone else’s race.  “Run your own race!” It was good advice then and is still good advice today!!

BACKGROUND:

In Hebrews 11, the writer reviews some of the great heroes of the faith.  Then in the first verses of chapter 12, he tells us how to apply the principles of a faith that pleases God.  The first three verses of Hebrews 12 are the conclusion of chapter 11.  Chapter and verse divisions were not added for more than a thousand years after Christ.  Scholars added them to enable readers to find a particular verse or passage easily.  These divisions are not inspired and could sometimes be improved upon, as we see in this section of Hebrews.

The first word in Hebrews 12 is therefore.   When we see the word therefore in the Bible we should always ask, “What is it there for?”  It always connects and points back to what has already been written, in this case chapter 11. To encourage us to live a life that pleases God, the author of Hebrews compares the life of faith to a race. 

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)

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 trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

2     We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy  awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

3     Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.

  1. We must understand the Event  

The word race translates a Greek word (Agon) from which we get our English word “agony.”  It refers to a long agonizing marathon race. 

  • This race is not a 100 yard dash or a sprint
  • This race is a marathon! – It might be a 20, 40, 60 or 80- year event!
  • Some Christians are sprinters who fizzle before the race is over.   They have a crisis, hear a great sermon, and they are off and running the Christian life.  But in a month, or a year they fizzle. 
  • There is a saying that describes people like that: “A faith that fizzles before the finish had a flaw from the first.
  1. We must remember the Examples for Encouragement  

Point to Ponder: What has it cost you to run for Jesus?  Or, has it cost you anything?

         Running this race cost the Jewish Christians. . .

  • Family
  • Fame
  • Fortune

But the writer of Hebrews did not want them to lose their. . .

  • Faith
  • They were ordinary people who by faith did extraordinary things.
  • When you face family opposition in your spiritual race, Abel, who was killed by his brother, will stand and cheer you on, telling you, you can make it! 
  • When you have to leave family and friends, think of Abraham who left his home not even knowing where he was going. 
  • If someone hurts you, or treats you unfairly, remember Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers.
  • Sickness is your concern – then learn from the woman with an issue of blood.
  • But also in this cloud of witnesses are our Christian loved ones who have gone on before us.  Momma is up there wanting you to remember what she told you!  They are in the stands cheering us on!
  • Tough times demand tough faith.
  • Faith is trusting God in spite of the circumstances and obeying God in spite of the consequences.
  1. We must remove Entanglements  

The things that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles us is . . .

  • Lust of the flesh
    • Lust of the eyes
    • Pride of life

1 John 2:16 (NKJV)16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Genesis 3:6 (AMPC) 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good (suitable, pleasant) for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave some also to her husband, and he ate.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

  1. We must have Endurance
  2. The secret of winning the race of faith is not speed but stamina
  3. In running a race there are three things a runner cannot do. . .
  4. Look back
  5. Run out of their lane
  6. Drop the baton  
  • We Must Focus on Emmanuel
  • Fix your eyes upon Jesus. 
  • Fix your mind upon Him. 
  • He endured. . .
  • Sorrow
  • Shame
  • Suffering

 2 Timothy 3:12 (AMPC) 12 Indeed all who delight in piety and are determined to live a devoted and godly life in Christ Jesus will meet with persecution [will be made to suffer because of their religious stand].

 

 Hebrews 12:4-11 (MSG)

4-11 In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?

My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
    but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
    the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.

  • We must Expect discipline!
  • When God does bring discipline into our lives, it is never retribution, it is redemptive
  • The point of discipline is love
  • God loves us too much to leave us like He found us!
  • When we face some trial and sin in life, God stirs us to stand fast and to conquer the trial or to turn away from the sin.
  • God doesn’t want the trial to defeat and engulf us.  He wants it to strengthen us.
  • He wants to teach us to trust and depend on Him more and more.
  • We cannot wallow around in self-pity or react against the trials and problems that attack us.  We must turn to God.

Hebrews 12:12-13 (MSG)

12-13 So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

  • We must be an Encourager and an Example for other believers!
  • We are to lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. 
  • The world is watching, we must run strong in order for others to run well too.
  • We must not follow the crowd.  We must keep our own path clear!

Progress in The Journey. . .

In a relay race, runners are to pass the baton to the next runner so that they may run the next course.  The same should be true in the Church.  One generation run their race and then pass the baton to the next generation.  Many of us don’t have an assistant, or someone next in line to replace us. Why not?

Here are three things keeping us from handing off the baton to the next person and/or the next generation: (Points for consideration)

  1. We don’t want to give up the baton. We like our                                and feel that it gives us                   .
  2. We don’t know how to do a                    handoff. 
  3. That is we don’t know             , or
  4. we do not want, to            future leaders for some unknown reason;
  5. Or, we don’t                     the next generation or person’s ability to run the next leg of the race.
  6. We forget that it is not about                   , but about                                    !

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                          Pray that you stay the course in the race you have been assigned to run.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:             Always be ready to encourage others as they complete their tasks along their journey.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:                 Remind others of the example that Christ gives us in completing a task especially for the benefit of others.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:                 Our persistent and consistent giving always helps others stay on their course.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:                  Sometimes our pathway gets a little cloudy or becomes marred as we journey through life; always remember prayer is a Christ-follower’s best journey ally.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Watch Your Mouth

SERIES:          Momma Said

DAILY BIBLE READINGS:   Matthew 12:33-37; Luke 6:45; Matthew 15:17-20; James 3:1-12; Matthew 16:15-23; James 4:13-16; Colossians 4:6; Proverbs 15:1

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