Our World: Stumbling at the Finish Line

By Karen Polich

Everyone has troubles. Some are part of everyday life. (Ecclesiastes, a time for everything). But, there are many that come from a greater power.

Have you thought about how much of our life is tracked and monitored? The idea that my every move is tracked annoys me. Interests, demographics, location, shopping habits (even online window shopping), every address I’ve ever been attached to, education…the list just keeps going. The world’s tracking methods are endless. While it all annoys me, the impact is minimal.

Satan is the ultimate tracker. This enemy knows us. He knows the stuff that matters and seeks to use it when we are at our weakest. While he is not the authority, he does hit us in the weak spots with the plan of us falling into sin. Sin that will do tremendous damage, full of consequences and pain. The impact is more than minimal.

Pastor Michael Cook’s Our World sermon series took us to Judges 8  and another look at Gideon.  Gideon had almost completed his victory over the Midianites. In Judges 8, we see Gideon at the finish line. From victory forward. The hurdles he faced are things we must be aware of in our lives. Listen to the podcast here.

Hurdles at the finish line can cause us to fall flat.

Criticism can be handled best with a humble heart. (Proverbs 15:1) Handling criticism with discernment helps us understand the real motive of the critic. When we bring a tactful answer, it can breakdown the hurdle and we can take our hurt to God instead of escalating the situation.

How hard is it to control our tongues and our temper? (Ouch!) Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Proverbs 16:32

Contempt can hit us hard. It’s a hurdle that can bring the erosion of what was once good. Sometimes we return it to someone who has hurt us. When we get hurt, our fallen nature can raise its ugly head. Sadly, there will be times when our own will disappoint and hurt us. Even in that disappointment, we should not be derailed from God’s purpose. We must continue to move forward.

Compromise is a hurdle that can turn into a trap. Gideon said he did not want to be king, but he lived like one. Compromise spiritually, morally or domestically destroys everything in its path.

We will all have our own hurdles. Be aware. We should seek God for protection and discernment. Our hurdles are not random. They come where the hit will count and we are likely to fall.

We must not yield to temptation. We must stand firm and be strong. Some hurdles are easy to see because they are hard, but there are hurdles that will deceive. Things like success and popularity can become a hurdle that brings us to the ground if our focus is not on God.

Seek God day by day. He is the ultimate authority. In Him, we can stand firm and be strong, avoiding the stumble at the finish line.



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