Run Run Run

Victoria - posted on 09/23/2012 ( no moms have responded yet )

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A Recent sermon I gave:



Run, Run, Run

(Three factors to abide by, to get the Gold)



I’m not a big sports fan. Most of you know this of me, but when the Olympics is happening in my native land, or even when it was here in my adopted land it is kind of hard to ignore.

It’s astounding the length these athletes go to in an attempt to medal. The work they put in, pushing themselves, not only that, but with coaches and country pushing them to succeed.

Yet in these races only 3 bring home the metal Bronze, Silver & Gold. Still only really the Gold winner is ever remembered, those like Greg Rutherford from my hometown Milton Keynes who won Gold in the Long Jump or Usain Bolt, the Jamaican athlete who won 3 Gold medals as the world’s fastest man.



For us, our race isn’t against others, really it’s against ourselves, will we keep running?

So how do we bring home the Gold? In regards to our promises, our walk in Christ, this can apply to so many areas of our lives. We might not be a Usain Bolt, yet in our Spiritual lives we certainly can attain to be.



Heb 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.



Today we are going to look at three factors to abide by in order to bring home the Gold.



1) Run Freely v1

2) Run Focused v2

3) Run to Finish v3





1) Run Freely. v1



“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”

The NKJV Puts it:

“let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares”



When I was in physiotherapy after hurting my back last year, they did some endurance and strength training with me. One of the exercises was this, running with a band around my ankles holding weights.



Now running for me at the time was hard enough, with added weights even harder, but with weights and my feet tangled up, while doing my best not to fall flat on my face, well that was not easy at all.



God doesn’t want us to have this experience, he wants us to run freely, but in order to do that, we have to throw off our hindrances.



Lay aside: put off , lay aside, lay down, cast off, put away, lay apart, throw off.

Often times when athletes train, they have to throw off things, lay things aside.

They have to set themselves apart from friends, family, foods they like, other activities.

Chinese athletes are taken from their families at a very young age & sent to live in special “schools” to train, so that the things that might distract them are not readily available.

For us, although we live in this world, we are not of this world, we too have been set apart.



Joh 15:19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.



The young Chinese athletes don’t really have a choice, they are taken away from their friends & family as soon as their talent is recognized, but for us we have to make the choice to live “Set Apart”, we have to recognize ourselves that God has a gold medal for us or as it says in James a “Crown of glory”.



Joh 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.



So unlike the Chinese athletes we are not taken away, we still live our lives daily, at home, at work, with families, friends and whatever struggles arise there. However, God protects us as we live in this world, by giving us every tool we need to get through those struggles & run an unhindered race.



2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.



Every time we enter into the word, every time we come to a service, every time Pastor Stan comes to visit, God is equipping us to run freely & unhindered.



Ja 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.



Training us to be mature & complete, so that we lack nothing, are hindered by nothing, tangled by nothing, free to run the race marked out for us. Yet know that even as we run, we are being trained, once we come to Christ, we start running that race, and sometimes our running is more of a walk as we preserve to be freed from some weight and straps that make it difficult to keep pace.





2) Run Focused v.2



“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”



Fix: To look to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.



The dictionary puts it as: to focus on, concentrate, direct, fasten, fixate.



We were watching the gymnastics the other day. And these men & women have little margin for error to get the top marks. If they even glance off in any direction they can lose balance or step wrongly & greatly decrease their score. It’s all a matter of focus.



We need to stay focused too, if we are distracted, then we become an easy target to veer off course.

Now it’s not that we are all walking around with our faces in our bibles, but we do need to consider our ways, our choices & even our motivation for doing things. Not that we are deliberately walking around sinning left, right & centre, if we are, we need to stop, see Pastor Stan after service & get focused.



De 11:18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.



If the word is fixed in our hearts and minds then we don’t need our face in the bible 24/7, because when we do spend time in the word it will be fixed with us for the time were not reading it, we’ll be living it.



2Co 4:18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.



Anything of this world is considered seen & temporary, the things of the spirit, the things of the unseen world, those principles we learn from the word that are ingrained on our hearts, these are thing we will take with us .



1Co 10:23 "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive.



Here we see that everything is permissible, but if it causes us to lose focus on God, is it really beneficial. For the athletes, sure they certainly can go hang out with their friends and party & have late nights eat junk food, but will that be beneficial for them when it comes to race day, or is their time more wisely spent practicing their sport & maintaining a healthy diet.



For us, are we doing things that take our focus away, is our spiritual diet healthy & beneficial to us.



Pr 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.



And keep our focus on the race God has marked out for us. You know how when you drive, if you look in one direction for too long you end up steering that way, it’s kind of the same thing hear. The race marked out for us, Gods plan for my life. We can’t run someone else race for them, we shouldn’t be looking in another direction; we have to stay focus on the race God marked out for us.



Heb 3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess.



That race, our heavenly calling, not only our eyes fixed, our gaze, but our thoughts also.



Usain Bolt & Greg Rutherford had to keep their eyes looking straight, their gaze fixed directly before them, their thoughts fixed straight on their goal, GOLD, not swerving & not giving up.



If we give up on our race, then we’re not going to finish it.







3) Run to Finish v.3



“So that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”



When watching some of these athletes, you can see endurance on their faces, they look tired, yet there is an “I’m not giving up” look about them.



There was this one weight lifter, who had actually put out his shoulder or broken his wrist, yet he still kept pushing, I think he got the bronze, but the pain on his face. He held that weight above his head until the buzzer went, he had the time & he got the medal.



Will that be us, still hold up & standing in strength when the buzzer goes, when our race is finished?



Ac 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.



Will we complete the task given us, or will we get distracted along the way, tangled up in something else. We have a great cloud of witness before us, of those who are still on the track & a sad cloud of witness of those who left the race. God doesn’t want us to leave the race, he wants us to continue on to “win the prize for which God has called us Heavenwards in Christ Jesus” as it says in Phil 3:14.



2Ti 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.



You know the expression “there’s still a bit of fight left in me yet”. Well that has to be us, right until the end, I mean what’s the point if we keep fighting, standing firm & staying strong, then one day, as we have seen with many others turn & say “I don’t wanna do this anymore”



Eze 18:24 "But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die.



It won’t matter that we spent years here in Christ, running the race, it will be as though we never even started it.



Heb 3:14 We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.



Hold firmly & don’t let go, we all start with great confidence & eagerness, but we have to finish the same way we started.



I read a quote recently, from Benjamin Disraeli (I don’t know who he is). He said “The secret to success is constancy to purpose. In other words we have to constantly be heading towards the goal/ purpose, to which we started.



2Co 8:11 Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.



Our eager willingness has to be match by the completion, we can’t win if we don’t finish, and we can’t get the Gold if we leave the race.



Ps 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.



Now I like how the message puts it:



Ps 27:14 Stay with GOD! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with GOD.



So hold to that promise Don’t Quit! whether ministry, health, finances, family, hold on keep running until it comes to pass, don’t veer off and get tangled, run freely, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, running focused in confidence and eagerness that will find us running to finish, and what is our Gold, well there are the streets of Gold as mentioned on Sunday, but there is also the crown of Life as spoken about in James 1:12.



Amen!

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