Clearing The Hurdles To Your Success

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If you watched any of the Olympic competition. . .perhaps you caught the  track and field events with the 100M and 400M hurdles. 

The runners sprint. . .clearing a number of hurdles. . .before sprinting again to the finish line. 

In other words. . .they face a number of hurdles or obstacles on their way to victory.

Everyday. . .you and I have hurdles. . .obstacles we have to overcome if we want to be successful in life and effective for the Kingdom.

Gail Devers, a three-time Olympic champion and member of the National Track and Filed Hall of Fame, said:

“In my race, there are 10 hurdles, but in life, there is always a hurdle. There is always something you gotta get over, and it's what you do, you know.”

Let’s look at seven hurdles you have to clear to gain the victory in life.

The first obstacle is. . .YOU.

If you don’t believe in yourself. . .no one else will. . .and you’ll never clear the many hurdles you’ll face on the way to success.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, the author of the Power of Positive Thinking, once said:

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

You may need to have a talk with yourself about what you can achieve.  And frankly, this conversation should not focus on your natural abilities but rather on the infallibility of the Word.

Philippians 4:13 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].”

God gives you the strength and power to be the best you. . .that you can possibly be.

A you. . .that clears whatever hurdles life and the enemy put before you.

The real key is trusting the Lord.  Putting Him first. . .then you are empowered beyond your imagination.

Proverbs 3:5-6 in The Living Bible says:

“If you want favor with both God and man, and a reputation for good judgment and common sense, then trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. 6 In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”

God in you. . .makes you a winner in every hurdle you clear.

The second obstacle is your past.

This may include failed plans, broken dreams, aborted goals. . .what others have said to you. . .or anything else in your past. . .that’s weighing you down. 

We must not let our past determine our future.

The past is past!  Leave it there.  Put it behind you by the power and blood of Jesus.

There are seven words in Philippians 3:13 in The Living Bible which tell us exactly how to handle the hurdles of the past.   The verse says:

“No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.

You might want to write this down.

“I’m forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”

Isaiah 43:18-18 in the Message Bible says:

“Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! . . .”

Once we clear the hurdles of our past. . .we’re headed for a new thing.

The third obstacle is your resources.

Many people never clear the hurdles to success because they don’t think they have the resources to accomplish their goals.

We should never let a lack of financial resources abort our dreams.

We have access to all the educational. . .spiritual. . .and,  yes, financial resources. . .we need. . .so we need to stop with all the “if onlys.”

“If only” is often a lament over what might have been without regard for what still can be.

‘If only’ is an admission that sometimes things go wrong.

How many times do you think Moses said to himself, “If only I hadn’t killed that Egyptian. If only I’d waited to see what God wanted first.”

How many times do you think the Apostle Paul said to himself, “If only I hadn’t killed all those believersif only I’d realized who Jesus was.”

How many men or women of God second guess themselves … wondering if they missed something in the process or had done something wrong along the way that can’t be corrected.

Hebrews 12:3 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous oppositionandbitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you maynotgrow wearyorexhausted, losing heartandrelaxingandfainting in your minds.”

Maybe we didn’t listen to the advice given us by a pastor, mentor or friend … okay, so listen right now.

Romans 11:29 says:

For the gifts and calling of God arewithoutrepentance.”

You have 24/7 access to the greatest resource ever made available to man.  You won’t find this resource in the stacks of your local library but rather in the 66 chapters of your Bible.

This resource is never wrong. . .always on time. . .and was written with you in mind.

Tap into this resource. . .it’s destiny-changing.

Psalm 119:105 in the Message Bible says:

“By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.”

The fourth obstacle is our self-imposed limitations.

We are limited by our reading habits, our associations and our mentality.

Other than the Bible. . .what books are you reading now?

How many books have you read thus far in 2016?  Is that more or less than you read in 2015? 

If you don’t like to read. . .you need to change. . .or your life will remain the same.

And today you have an advantage.  You can buy many great Christian books on audio. When you hear the great motivational messages available to you, it may just spur you to pick up a book to learn more.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), 17 So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Reading the Word makes us “. . .complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Reading God-inspired experiences and examples of Christian writers is God’s way of shaping us up for the tasks that He has for each of us.

When it comes to associations. . .if you stay around people who think small. . . your horizon. . .your possibilities for success will diminish.

1 Corinthians 15:33 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.”

But if you study the Bible. . .meditate on the Word of God. . .and walk with others who do the same. . .your borders will expanded and your destiny enriched.

Philippians 2:5 in the Contemporary English Version of the Bible says:

“Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought.”

The biggest hurdle we face is the way we think.

Romans 12:2 in the New Living Translation says:

“. . .but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. . .”

The fifth obstacle is the “3-D obstacle” of:  disappointments, discouragement and delays.

If you can pass the 3-D test . . .you’ll fulfill your dreams and visions.

First, let’s look at disappointment.

Disappointments come to everyone. . .and it can be frustrating and at times even painful.

Because all too often we find that we’re disappointed in ourselves and others.

But there is one person who will never disappoint us and He’s the One we should lean on.

Psalm 35:20 in the Amplified Bible over your lives.  The verse says:

“O keep me, Lord, and deliver me; let me not be ashamed or disappointed, for my trust and my refuge are in You.”    

Psalm 35:20 in the Message Bible says:

“Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble; don't let me down when I run to you.”

When we put our trust in the Lord. . .our expectations will not be disappointed.

Romans 9:33 in the Amplified Bible says:

“. . .but he who believes in Him [who adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] shall not be put to shame nor be disappointed in his expectations.”

I think God’s intent is most clear in Romans 10:11 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed.”

Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, said:

“The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.”

Second, discouragement.

Discouragement also happens to everyone.

Have you ever been so discouraged that like David. . .you concluded things would be better if you just ran away?

David thought Saul might eventually take his life. . .but, in fact, Saul didn’t take his life and David became king.  But in a moment of discouragement . . .David couldn’t see God’s plan.

I Samuel 27:1 in the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition says:

But David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any more within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand.”

Is that the way you feel?  God gives us so many examples of those who despaired … but continued on the overcome! 

What gives us the strength to overcome discouragement. . .is the Word of God.

Joshua 1:9 in the New Living Translation says:

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

If God tells us to not be discouraged . . .it means He wants us encouraged no matter what we’re facing.

There is a cause and effect when we complain, murmur or grumble. . .the end-result is discouragement.

Proverbs 15:4 in The Living Bible says:

Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.”

Discouragement must be fought with the Word.

Dr. Charles Stanley said:

“Disappointment is inevitable. But to become discouraged, there's a choice I make. God would never discourage me. He would always point me to himself to trust him. Therefore, my discouragement is from Satan. As you go through the emotions that we have, hostility is not from God, bitterness, unforgiveness, all of these are attacks from Satan.”

How do we turn discouragement into encouragement?

Two verses come to mind.

First, Psalm 42:11 in the New Living Translation says:

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!”

Second, Galatians 6:9 in The Living Bible says:

“And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”

How do we miss our blessing. . .by being discouraged and giving up. . . that is why it’s essential we build ourselves up in our holy faith daily!

Jude 20-21 in the Message Bible says:

“But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, thereallife!”

Third, is delay.

Delays are simply a part of life. 

It’s important to get it into our spirit that God is always working on our behalf even when we fail to see it.

2 Peter 3:9 in the Amplified Bible says:

“The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people's conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.”

This scripture is often quoted as a verse to give hope to those who believe for a loved one to be saved.  However, I think there is much more at work in this verse.

“The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises. . .”

If you’ve been going through the fire. . .if you feel like you’ve been to hell and back, then you need to hold onto the first part of this verse.

God does not delay. . .but the enemy likes to see if he can hinder the arrival of God’s answer to the circumstances, situations and problems that you are facing.

Ephesians 6:13 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resistand stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”

But understand this … God’s timing is also crucial. If you’ve done all you know to do then as the scripture says … stand.  If you lack anything God will make sure you see it.

You need to know God has heard your prayer . . . that your answer . . . your deliverance is on the way.  That’s why it’s so important that you obey the Lord. . .follow His instructions for living the good life. . .never doubt. . .because answers, direction and deliverance are coming.

Heed the words of Psalm 119:60 in the New Living Translation which says:

“I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.”

Even though you’ve been waiting for an answer. . .a manifestation. . . don’t give up, give in, back up, back down or quit expecting.

Psalm 105:19 describes Joseph’s journey to his destiny.

“Until the time that his word came: the word of theLordtriedhim.”

Delay doesn’t mean denial. When the time was right, Joseph walked into his destiny and the rest is history.

Before we move on I want to share a powerful quote with you from Denis Waitley, the author and motivational speaker, who said:

“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Yet, in saying nothing…doing nothing and being nothing…we are already failing. We can rest on the fact that God purposed us for success.

The sixth obstacle is the opinions of others.

Recently on social media I posted a quote from anonymous which said:

"I used to care what people thought about me. . .until the day I tried to pay my bills with their opinions."

This quote makes me smile. . .but there is truth in its words.

We’re all influenced by the opinions of others.

I read once where someone said (my apologies for not remembering who) when you’re 18 you worry about what others are thinking of you.

When you’re 40 you don’t care what others are thinking and when you’re 60, you realize they probably weren’t thinking about you at all.

Never let the opinions of others. . .keep you from doing what God called you to do.

Never let the crowd or peer pressure. . .keep you from doing what you know is the right thing to do.

When your cause is just. . .when your instructions are biblically based. . . move forward and go for it.

I have known people who failed to do the right thing for fear of what others might think.

To know to do right and do wrong is a sin.  I didn’t make that up…it’s in the Word of God.

James 4:17 in the Amplified Bible says:

“So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.”

On Judgment Day you’re going to be a lot more concerned about what Jesus thinks than what any other person thinks of you.

The seventh obstacle is not believing God will do what His Word says He will do.

Too many believers short-circuit their success by believing that God will not do for us what He does for anyone else.

You would think believers would know this is a lie of the devil. . .but many continue falling for this trick.  The trick is to get in down in your spirit so deep … nothing can change your mind.

Acts 10:34 in the Message Bible translation says:

“Peter fairly exploded with his good news: "It's God's own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you're fromif you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open.”

Seven key points in the Message Bible translation of Acts 10:34.

First, “it’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer.”

Second, God plays no favorites.

Third, “it makes no difference who you are.”

Fourth, “or where you are from.”

Fifth, “if you want God.”

Sixth, “are you ready to do as God says”

Seventh, “the door is open.”

Have you ever tried to see someone whose door was shut and their secretary/assistant told you they were unavailable.  You know that one conversation with that person could change your life. . . yet it’s just not going to happen.

It’s time to shout as we have 24/7 access to the greatest financial advisor, talent agent, negotiator, publicist, dream maker that ever lived.  His door is never closed. . .it’s always open for you.

Matthew 7:7 in the Amplified Bible says:

“Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you.”

If you’re ready to do as He says. . .the door is open to you.

When an Olympic athlete clears the last hurtle. . .the last obstacle they sprint to finish the race.

Let’s talk about how you must finish the race.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the renowned author and poet, once said:

“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of finishing.”

The apostle Paul knew what it was to finish.

2 Timothy 4:7 in the Classic Amplified Bible says:

“I have fought the good (worthy, honorable, and noble) fight, I have finished the race, I have kept (firmly held) the faith.”

Are you ready to clear the hurdles you face every day?

In 1927, the General Mills Corporation began calling their cereals Wheaties “the Breakfast of Champions.”  Over the years, it’s featured sports stars and celebrities on the cover of the box.

If you want to clear the hurdles to success. . .you need to feed on the Breakfast of Champions. . .and I’m not talking about cereal … but feeding on God’s Word so you can champion the cause God purposed for you.

Having the breakfast of champions … reading God’s Word … every morning will make a winner in the game of life.