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Unloading Your Baggage

 

Run w Endurance

 

Key Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3

 

I. Introduction: If you’ve ever travelled on an airplane, you know baggage can be an issue.
However, have you ever considered how the intangible baggage of past experiences or personal sin hinders your journey with Christ? Hebrews 12:1-3 compares the Christian life to a race and encourages us to “lay aside” those things that block our progress.

 

II. Hebrews 1:1 uses two different words to describe those things that slow us down and create obstacles in our lives.

 

A. Encumbrance. This is anything that keeps us from effectively living the Christian life. Although encumbrances come in many forms, the common ones that cause believers to stumble are:

1. A poor self-image.Negative comments can cause us to doubt our value.

2. A defeatist attitude. If we think we’re beaten by our circumstances, we’ll never try.

3. Feelings of rejection. Being devalued by others is painful and leaves us feeling unworthy.

4. Perfectionism. If we think everything must be done flawlessly, we won’t take risks.

5. A fear of failure. We’ll miss wonderful opportunities from God if we let anxiety hinder us.

6. Procrastination. Putting off tasks keeps us from accomplishing our goals.

7. A lack of self-control. If we can’t control our impulses, we’re easily persuaded and led off track.

8. A lack of concentration. When our minds drift, we can’t accomplish much.

9. A negative attitude. Pessimism has a negative impact on our work and relationships.

10. A suspicious attitude. Being suspicious of others’ motives keeps us from accepting love and friendship.

11. Indecision. An inability to make decisions prevents us from progressing.

 

B. Sin. The second hindrance is “the sin which so easily entangles us” (Heb. 1:1). This does not mean sin in the general sense of the word, but instead refers to a specific one. For each of us:

1. It’s our primary area of weakness.

2. It’s one we must continually guard against because it tempts us most.

3. It’s difficult to resist and frequently ensnares us.

4. It divides our mind when we think about it.

5. It hinders our relationships with others.

6. It surfaces when we pray.

7. It strikes at our self-respect.

8. It hinders our relationships with God.

 

C. All believers have certain sins that weight them down. They include:

1. Unforgiveness. When we can’t let go of past hurts, it damages us and hinders our relationships with God.

2. A critical spirit. If all we do is criticize, we can hurt others and ourselves.

3. A jealous spirit. If we always desire what others have, we’re never happy with ourselves.

4. Greed. A desire for more causes us to hurt others to get what we want.

5. Pride. God hates it when we are conceited about our social standing, possessions, or looks.

6. Deceit. Habitually lying makes us deceptive.

7. Lust. When love is replaced by lust, our desire is out of control.

8. Unbelief. Although we may claim to believe the Bible, too often we’re unwilling to trust in God to provide for our needs.

9. Anger. Perpetual anger robs us of happiness.

10. Bitterness. This is a poison that prevents us from giving and receiving love.

11. Slander. Spreading lies about others makes us malicious.

12. Love of money. A continuous desire for wealth easily trips us up.

13. Idolatry. Whatever we place before God is an idol.

 

III. Like runners in a race, we must remove anything that slows us down. If we refuse, we’ll find those things:

A. Distract us.

B. Divide our minds and send us off track.

C. Drain our energy.

D. Slow our pace.

E. Cause us to stumble.

F. Are destructive.

 

IV. In order to run effectively, we must release things God never intended us to carry by:

A. Admitting to the Lord that we have an encumbrance in our lives.

B. Acknowledging our entangling sin.

C. Taking responsibility for the baggage, no matter where it came from.

D. Making a definite decision to deal with it.

E. Laying it aside because it doesn’t fit us as Christ’s followers.

F. Relying on Christ’s strength to put it down and walk away (Phil. 4:13). God knows it’s hindering us, and He doesn’t want it in our lives.

G. Knowing the Lord will enable us to lay it aside.

H. Understanding it is discipline that determines the outcome of our decisions and destinies.

 

V. Conclusion: The Lord has planned the best race for each of us. However, we can’t win and fulfill His plan until every hindrance is laid aside. We don’t have to carry baggage and continue failing in our efforts to overcome the sins in our lives. God will set us free if we’ll believe Him, and by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit, make a conscious choice to do away with whatever is displeasing to Him.

 

Dr. Charles F. Stanley. Copyright 2012 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org.