Off the Sidelines, In the Game

God Gold of the Day

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

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭

Wanted to share something with you today. Have you ever been to a sporting event and you see all these people on the sidelines cheering their butts off for the people on the field playing the game? Or maybe you watch a lot of games on tv, you sit in your living room and you yell at the tv so loudly it seems like the players in the game might just hear you? If you’re one of these people, that’s a good thing and there’s nothing wrong with it, it shows you have passion for the game being played, you have heart, and you want more than anything to see your team get a victory!

With all that said, I want to be honest and say that during this race so far I’ve felt like a lot of moments I’ve done a really good job at being one of these cheering fans on the sidelines but I haven’t spent as much time actually in the game! To be honest, it’s a lot easier to yell from the sidelines than actually playing the game but the truth is, this race we’ve been talking about in this new year, it has no place for fans, only players.

I want to encourage you today if you’re one of those cheering fans and tell you I get it, I’m right there with you a lot of the time but we must move, we must move from the sideline to the field because our team needs us to play the game!!! Don’t be discouraged if that’s you a lot of the times, you’ve shown you have passion, heart and the desire for your team to achieve victory!!! Those are all great qualities to have, now we just have to put those to playing instead of cheering!!

This verse from James really summed up this lesson;

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:22‬

The easy thing to do is listen to Gods Word, to hear Him tell us of the race He has set before us to run in this life. We can fill ourselves with sermons, devotions and so many Scriptures but at the end of the day, it means nothing if we are just hearing and not doing. I love the hype and the preparing for attacking the things God has set before me, who doesn’t, but without actually attacking the race, getting in the game and playing, it is all for nothing. That’s the easy part we can find ourselves caught up in; talking the talk, doing all the right things to prepare or say but not actually trusting God and running the race in the way He has called us to.

Through all these messages to you about the race, learning all these awesome lessons and principles on how to run the race, in the midst of all that it was like I felt if I spend enough time close to the race (on the sidelines), and talk enough about it then maybe the part where I run the race would just magically happen. I know, pretty dumb right?!? But the truth is we all do it at times! We feel that if we spend enough time close to the game, cheering on all the players, planning, preparing our attack, and getting ready to be intentional then maybe that’s good enough and I wouldn’t have to actually play the game.

It’s just not true and it’s just not enough! God has called us to so much more than just being a glorified cheer leader while our brothers and sisters are on the front lines taking hits from the enemies team day after day! At some point, we have to take our good intentions and actually be intentional about carrying them out! We can only listen and talk about the truth for so long, we have to put it to action!!!

I hope you find yourself today as convicted as I am! If you are doing a really good job on the sidelines, transfer that to playing the game! Stay close to God, listen to Him and His truths, learn more about Him but also, FOLLOW HIM!!! That means physically moving, doing what you hear, applying what you’ve learned, play the game!!!

I get it if you’re scared you won’t play good enough or you’re scared of what those first steps of faith will be like, that’s normal! Just like a baby learns to move by first crawling, so do you! When you’re fresh and new to running the race, you have to start somewhere, maybe that’s just crawling and as bad as you’ll want to take off sprinting like all the seasoned, mature believers you see playing the game around you, it’s okay, you’ll get there!

That’s a big lesson we are going to dig into next week on the God Gold! How Jesus is the initiator and finisher of our faith, there’s a process of faith that takes place where we first believe in Jesus to where we live out our beliefs daily! We are going to dig into that more next week but for today I challenge you and myself to take that first step! Whatever God has been calling you to do, be intentional about your good intentions, move your hearing of truth to applying of truth, and MOVE!!! All it takes is one faithful step and Jesus will take care of the rest! No more just listening, now we listen and live the truth God tells us!!! No more sitting on the sideline cheering for others, the coach just called and he needs YOU to come into the game!!!

Who Over Do

God Gold of the Day

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

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭

Ladies and men, welcome to “The Race.” I know you’re probably getting tired of me talking about the race by now but we’re 23 days into January and something I keep realizing is the race doesn’t start or stop on January 1st or any other date! It’s all the time, every day in our lives so if anything I pray these messages about the race can be a huge encouragement to you as you run the race God has set before you!

This past Tuesday, I told you of the problems I’ve encountered so far in this race, the biggest simply being to stop cheering from the sidelines and run! The other problem I mentioned is getting caught in “the fog of life.” The busyness and craziness of our schedules, to-do lists, and lives, if we let it control us we can easily fall prey to that fog that hurts our vision. And if you haven’t learned yet, our vision is VERY important!!! Why?!? Because this race means nothing if we are not running with our eyes completely set on Jesus! If our eyes aren’t on Jesus, for one, we can’t run this race because we are not capable of doing so without Him, and for two, if we aren’t looking at the whole reason we run, why would we run in the first place?

Today, I want to challenge you once again and share with you this second problem I’ve had in running the race that God has set before me. Back to the root of the problem, it’s where our eyes are at, where we look to, what we spend our time focusing on and thinking about. Where our eyes are at is a direct result of what we believe and that will tell us quickly what we can achieve. If our eyes are on anything but Jesus, what we believe will be small and what we achieve even smaller because anything compared to Jesus is extremely small in the BIGNESS of who He is and what He is capable of!

The world gives us many options on places we can set our eyes. For some of us we struggle with placing our eyes on self, trying to run from what we got or not running and chasing what makes us feel good above all else. Others struggle with setting our eyes on things of this world as a means to get the job done, magic pills and super juices that give us “out of this world” results. Both are lies and both will cause us to fail, the only “out of this world” results we’ll ever see or experience comes only through Jesus because His person and His power is literally OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! Another thing we can set our eyes on is things of this world that takes our time and energy but aren’t that important, “the weight” mentioned in the above verses that we carry with us. These weights are used to distract us and keep us occupied to the point that we don’t spend time running this race, the only thing that holds any weight or importance.

All of those are possible areas we can place our eyes and find nothing but failure, emptiness, and promises that can’t fill the void we are seeking. At some point or another we all fall into placing our eyes in those areas but that’s why we’re here, to unroot the wrong so we can live in what’s right!

One area that we tend to place our eyes at times, an area that you probably won’t expect to hear and we often overlook, it’s focusing and setting our eyes on the “do.” What is this “do” I speak of???

It’s what all God has called you to do, whether that’s throwing off certain weights in your life and ridding yourself of those bad habits or if it’s picking up new habits that allow you to serve more and run better in this race. Either way, God has called us to do many different things that fall under the umbrella of running the race in the best possible way. What can happen though, as I’ve mightily struggled with this, is we can spend our time, energy and resources focusing so much on the “do,” the habits, goals, and resolutions God has called us to reach, in the process of that we take our eyes off the “Who” behind it all, which is Jesus.

This can be a dangerous eye problem for us because it doesn’t seem like we are doing the wrong thing, we are focusing on what God has called us to do right? What’s so bad about that? Well, it doesn’t seem bad until we tie up our running shoes, put on our favorite running jam in our heads phones and begin running. This is me and this is what I’ve done. What happens when the do is all we place our eyes on, we realize quickly that the “do,” these goals, tasks, and things God has called us to do, actually attacking them is REALLY HARD!!! Then what happens next? We become so overwhelmed at the weight of how hard this race is going to be, the hours of sweat and pain it’s going to take to get through, we become overwhelmed and scared at the sight of what looks impossible!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely great to be intentional and focusing in on what God has called us to do but at the root of our focus and intention has to be set on Christ and Christ alone. If we place our eyes on these tasks that are not easy, we can easily give up after realizing that we aren’t capable of doing them. We can become discouraged and give up on it all! Heading back to the sideline with fear of ever trying to run again!

This is why we can’t have our eyes consumed with the “do” because it’s impossible and means nothing without the “who,” which is Jesus!!! Focusing on the “do” and it’s impossible, but when we focus on the “Who,” we see that through Christ, anything and everything is possible! That’s why we need to keep our eyes on Jesus!!! That’s why it’s so important!!! Because without Him, we’ll just be another statistic of someone who runs the race in January, gets their gym membership and all that jazz then by February they’ve already given up! We have to start with our eyes and focus on Jesus because when looking upon Him, who He is and all that He is capable of in our lives, the race seems to fall into place! All that “do” that had us so worried, discouraged, and impossible, takes a turn and looks a lot different through eyes set on Jesus! He gives us all we need to not just make it through but to make it through as a champion alongside Him! There are so many verses that speak straight to this truth of focusing on the “who” instead of the “do,” but I’ll place a view here for you that struck me the most! It’s crazy when we move our eyes from the “do,” to the “who,” how the do becomes doable for the first time in our lives!!!

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.”

‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭

““Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:5

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:5-6‬ ‭

Mid-Week Mining

God Gold of the day

Sometimes all we need is a little bit of perspective to change the broken way of despair that we see our lives and the impact Jesus has through us. It’s completely different than we think we see it. Just as he says here, darkness is losing, Jesus is winning, we may not see it when we look around us but that’s why we need reminders of truth that bring to us new and fresh perspective! Hope this blesses you today as it has myself!

When the Year is 2020 but Your Vision Isn’t

God Gold of the Week

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

Hebrews 12:1-3

I want to challenge you with something today. Yeah, I know I’ve said that before plenty of times but I intentionally want to encourage you in this challenge not to just hear it but embrace it, fight for it, and give your life to it! I don’t want to sound too dramatic but this challenge deserves all of the hype and buildup because for those who embrace the challenge ahead, life and the fullness of it is promised to you.

So here it is…..

After a couple of weeks of talking about the race and running the race God has set before us, I’ve noticed that I’ve spent a little too much time sharing principles and key lessons from this passage but I haven’t spent enough time getting down to the nitty gritty, the pain, sweat, and tears that come with running this race. I want to be honest with you that so far in this new year of 2020, I have had moments of running the race, attacking this battle while throwing off the weight and sin that holds me back, running with endurance and eyes kept on Jesus. I’ve had a few moments of feeling and seeing what a life like that is like, but the truth is I’ve had many more moments of sitting on the sideline and not running the race. The truth isn’t fun, it actually hurts a little bit to share how I’ve fallen short so much but it’s necessary because to move forward, you have to take an honest look at where you are standing. The thing is, I haven’t ran this race this year like I would’ve hoped, at least not yet. And if that is you today, I want to encourage you and tell you that God doesn’t care about yesterday, He only cares about today, this present moment. If you have set goals, made a list of New Year resolutions, done all the planning and prepping but you find yourself standing there on the sideline, fearfully waiting on that moment to run the race to happen, I’m here to tell you that we are no longer waiting, TODAY IS THE DAY!!!!

And if you’re that person who has moved from the sidelines into the race and you’ve been running with all you’ve got, hitting goals, embracing the grind of this race, WAY TO GO!!!! Seriously, that’s a big feat but this God Gold is for you too because at any moment you could be hit by something in life or get complacent to give in and move back to the sideline. I challenge you too, KEEP PUSHING!!!

These past couple of weeks we’ve learned some really life-changing and just plain out cool stuff! But, what happens when life doesn’t agree with the goals you’ve set? What happens when the world around you throws so many obstacles in your path that makes these truths in Hebrews, about “the race,” seem insignificant and unimportant? What do we do when we get to the race and it doesn’t look as pretty as the workout pictures we saw on Instagram? What do we do when we realize this fight to be better and run this race isn’t all sunshine and rainbows like the planning and prepping for it seemed to be? What do we do when we realize the truth that this race isn’t easy!! When we see and experience the pain, sweat, and pure grit it takes to run this race God has set before us, to throw off all the weight and sin that has hindered us for so long, to not run at our speed but to run at God’s speed with endurance? What do we do when we realize that this is going to be really daggum hard?

Well, I’m here to tell you my experience of realizing the realness of what it takes to run this race and so far it hasn’t been easy by any means. My biggest problem hasn’t been with the sin or weight that holds me back, or with the speed in which I have ran, it hasn’t been the obstacles that life has thrown in my path. Then what could possibly be my biggest problem when it seems like I’ve named off all of the possible answers, it’s the direction of my eyes. What?!?!?! You’re probably thinking; “Jordan are you about to make another 2020 joke about seeing 2020 this year?” No, as much as I would love to, there’s bigger fish to fry here today.

Through these past couple of weeks I’ve had some eye problems. Maybe these relate to you and why your eyes have been acting up or maybe you’ve got your own set of eye problems. Either way, here they are.

1) Getting Caught up in the fog of life

What is the “fog of life?” Well, over these past couple of weeks it’s been busy for me. I’ve been working six days a week, two of those days with two-hour commutes to a new part-time job. Yeah, I know those sound like the perfect excuse but it’s just life and it’s not changing so instead of letting that busyness and craziness change me, let’s see why this causes eye problems?

Think about it for a moment, how easy is it to get so caught up in life? We find ourselves getting so busy, chasing to-do lists, we have places to be and people to see what feels like all the time. This is what I’ve learned that even when this life throws a lot on our plate, the enemy loves to use this as a means of distraction, to move our eyes off the race and the God who has called us to run, and we get caught in the fog of life. The fog of life is so easy to get caught up in that when we’re in it, we can rarely even notice. The fog of life is when things are so busy and so crazy that our eyes are constantly turning left and right, going here and there, we have no way to stop and see the truth of where we’re at, the goals we are letting go of and the time we are spending focused on all the mayhem around us. The busyness of life is like a fog that when caught in, we struggle to see clearly through the misty clouds, we struggle to make the right decisions so we choose whatever decision we can see clear enough in front of us. The fog of life is easy to get caught up in but so hard for us to even notice we are there.

Last week especially, I got caught in some serious fog, and the results were disastrous. As I slipped deeper and deeper into the busyness and craziness of the fog of life, my eyes went farther and farther away from Jesus. It was hard to see Him because there was so many things going on around me that my vision became cloudy. The results of getting lost in the fog and not keeping my eyes on Jesus were not good. I was prideful, I had direction in where I was going because I couldn’t see, I was easily distracted and pulled by every little thing that came my way. And worst of all, the relationships in my life paid the price, I was there in face to face with people but I could barely see them because the fog was so thick. I was present with others physically but I wasn’t present in any other way than that, my mind was in a gaze, going so many places at once it was like everything was cloudy including my judgement and actions. I tell you about the “fog of life,” because it’s a scary place to be and it can cause some serious problems if we seek to run this race for Christ as He has called us to.

I wanted to share that first thing that I got caught in so you can be on guard against getting caught in that same fog and if you do, you can know how to get out of it.

The simple truth I found was this; I HAVE TO KEEP MY EYES ON JESUS!!!

That’s it. There’s nothing more needed to clear up the fog than setting our eyes on the truth, our “Champion,” the “founder and perfecter of our faith.” The fog is where I found myself last week and the way I ran the race struggled. The truth is this race isn’t going to be easy, but it’s going to be the most worth it purpose we ever run after.

The first challenge I make to you after telling you of the first problem I’ve faced with my vision; no matter what life throws at us, no matter how crazy or how busy life gets, WE HAVE TO KEEP OUR EYES ON JESUS!

I don’t know what that looks like for you but I challenge you to dig in here, be intentional about how you spend your time and where your eyes are at now and the fog of life will never stand a chance as you stand looking towards our Champion, Jesus Christ! Whatever it takes, it’s more than worth it. If it means rearranging your schedule, blocking out a time or several times in your day to spend in prayer and God’s Word communicating with Him and placing your eyes on Him, DO IT!!!! If it means beingmore intentional in the time you already spend with Him, DO IT! Just sit down and talk to Him for a minute, ask for guidance and wisdom on where, how and when you can spend time with Him? How can I make you a constant picture that my eyes are set on in this crazy life where I have so many pictures floating around me? Just ask God and He will make it clear to you but don’t stop there; actually follow through and spend that time with Him. It’s going to take being intentional and putting some of the other stuff in your life to the side but I promise you right here and now, keeping our eyes on Jesus is the ONLY WAY we can run this race! He’s all we have and all we need!!!! Let’s not let the fog swallow us up another day in our life while we sit there wondering why we don’t see results, why we can’t run this race, or why we just feel like a no good loser. Have you ever stopped to think it may be because your eyes are always on lesser things that will lose at the end of the day and not on our CHAMPION JESUS!!!!

Guard your eyes this week, place them on Jesus, you’ll be amazed at how all the “craziness” of life begins to fall into place!!!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

 

 

Running God’s Speed Limit

God Gold of the Day

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ‘

Hebrews 12:1-3

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