“Run Your Race” Pastor Joshua Goodin
Sunday Recap @ da Chapel Pastor Joshua Goodin Hebrews 12:1-3 (NRSV) “Run Your Race”
In this life, as you journey through this race, you have family, you have fans, you have people who sponsor you or give you things, and you also have haters. People who don't want to see you win, and keep you from reaching your goal. All of you are on a journey, and the only one that can pull you out of the race or disqualify you from the race is yourselves. It is important that you pay attention to the decisions that you make, and be careful who you allow to sit in the crowd and cheer you on. Who can tell you, stop and think about it before you make a decision in your life, and you listen? Who can talk you off the ledge?
You cannot become comfortable being for other people and expecting them not to be the same for you in return. If you are there for your friends 110%, then they should be there for you 110%. Stop saying people are just who they are so you don't expect them to be there for you like you are for them. Who taught you that it was ok for you to constantly show up for people and people not show up for you, and that be ok? Some of you have to undo some of the teachings learned when you were younger that cause pain and discomfort, and allow you to stay in stale situations. Stop saying they only know how to do the best they know how to do. No they don't, if you have been there for them you have been the model of what it looks like to be a good friend. Because you modeled it for them they have to take what they have gleaned and apply it to their own life.
It's important to have people in your life who have already been where you're going. They can spare you from some experiences, pains and some situations. We all have a testimony of I wish I would have listened. Took their advice, because if I did that I wouldn't be in the situation that I'm in, if I would have just listened. People don't want to stop you from enjoying your life, they want to help you avoid some of the pains and lasting struggles you have when you make certain decisions. There are some things you do that some people will never forget. People have a tendency to identify by your condition or your mistake and not by your name. No matter how many mistakes you make. Forgive yourself for some of the things that you have done in the past, because God says I can use your past mistakes to move you into places that you never thought you would be. God doesn't care what you did or how long you stayed there, or the residue you still have with you. He will use who he wants, when he wants, however he wants, because he specializes in taking broken situations and making miracles out of them. Taking people who were counted out and the least of them and making great things of their life.
If you're going to run your race you need people who can tell you to avoid certain things. Your friends won't put you in troubled situations. Your friends won't get over on you. You learn as you grow older, and closer to the savior, that how you define friendship changes. If you're going to be a friend you have to be able to get a prayer through.
Sin is a real threat that we constantly contend with daily. Lay it aside every day you wake up, there's some new sin waiting for you. Some of us have some unhealthy coping mechanisms. Sometimes when you need peace you will go to places and to things that we know will give you instant relief. Not just before Christ, but while walking with Christ. Sometimes you turn to unhealthy things. When you run your race there are new things that try to attach themselves to you all the time and cling to you, and you have to lay it aside. Some of the weight you carry is self-inflicted, because you don't want to release things that you know just weigh you down. Carrying people that you know are just dead weight, thinking your life is going to be shortened or worse if you let go of them. Your life might be better if you learn how to let some people go.
You have to run with endurance. In the midst of running your race there are times that you get fatigued, or get off course. It's not easy running this race, because sometimes people forget that you are human. Sometimes you push people to the place where they feel like quitting the race, because you keep putting pressure on them, removing them from their humanity. If pressure continues to keep building up on you, you will either be able to bear it or it will break you. You know what it feels like to be broken and you are still healing from some things that were weighed on you. Even when you lay aside the weight and sin, that doesn't mean that you immediately will have peace, but you are in the process of restoration. You run with endurance, because you are not the one that is giving you the strength to run, it's Christ that is strengthening you to run this race. Your reliance is not on the crowd, they can only cheer you on, they cannot give you strength when you are weak. If people can't give you strength when you are weak, why do you keep empowering people to have so much control and dominion over your life? Why do you keep giving people so much power to be able to affect you and your decisions when they cannot give you strength? Retake back your power because you've given it to the wrong people. You submit and surrender your power to people, and struggle with yielding completely to God.
You can't just passively endure; you have to have active faith in the midst of your endurance. God calls you to a race that requires active faithfulness. Keep your focus. Your worship should be centered on Jesus Christ. The only way to endure is to continually look towards Jesus. Without Jesus your faith is futile. He wants you to be finishers. You have to maintain your focus and keep looking at Jesus as a model and to get inspiration and encouragement from him. The people you do things for will sometimes be hostile towards you. It's hard to continually love people who are mean, nasty, and hostile to you when you do for them when they call. Jesus says to make it easy, focus on him and what he did. There are some things you respond to that are not worth your responses. Everybody does not deserve your energy. You can't work your gifts and operate in your purpose, because you keep giving energy to things that do not deserve your energy or attention. You are too focused on getting back at people what they gave to you that it steals your joy, your hope and your peace that it becomes you. You have to learn how to build a bridge and get over it. Don't keep allowing things to hinder you from getting to your finish line, to steal your joy, or take your peace of mind. You are still angry today at people that did things to you long ago, and it's blocking you. Until you can remove it you can't get to where God is trying to take you.
In order to get to the seat that's waiting for you, you have to endure some things along the race, but in the midst of what you have to endure you have to keep persevering, keep looking to Jesus so you can get your seat in the winner's circle. Don't run someone else's race, because your course is tough enough for you.