Running the RaceBro. David Chancellor
8/30/2009 6:00 PM
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
In a race, everyone runs to win. In a marathon, people run to just finish. When obstacles arise, you have to get over it and keep going. Life is like a race. There’s something to be won at the end. Those that run make some demands of themselves to win a prize. Life will demand some things of us. We have to meet those demands to win the race.
Keep plugging away and finish the race. Don’t fall out of the race. The only way to get the crown is to finish the race. Focus on the crown. It’s the only way you’ll get it. It is important that we value that crown. We want to hear, "Well done," not "just make it." Be faithful to what God shows you.
2 Timothy 2:1-7
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
Paul was encouraging Timothy to be strong, and carry the torch to future generations. Put up with the things that go with the race. Follow the course God lays out for you. If you stray from the course, you won’t win. Submit to God and be strong in his grace. To pass on the torch you have to see its light first. Draw on Christ if you would share him with others. Stay on the Rock, be faithful to what God shows you and keep your eye on the crown.
1 Peter 5:1-4
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
This is good for all of us. God put us all on the same plane. We’re all equal. We’ve experienced a taste of what God is like. "…ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
We enjoy some really wonderful times in life, and we also have some rough patches to push through. We’re running for something lasting. These things we go through now are temporary. Keep focused on the goal. Others are watching and we don’t want to discourage them. Just keep on going. Encourage yourself to push ahead. Focus on the short-term goals to make the big goal. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal. Overcome what comes to you day by day.
2 Timothy 4:5-8
But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Paul was ready to go. He was sitting on "death row" for carrying the message of Christ. He was ready no matter when the emperor decided his fate. He kept working while he waited. Paul wanted people to know Jesus. He had a crown waiting for him and he was focused on it. This crown is there for everyone that loves Jesus. There’s no crown for those who go through life on their own. When you go through life God’s way, you can have that hope of the reward. You can look forward to seeing Jesus someday. If we’ll be faithful, there’s a crown of righteousness for us. There’s a reward for the faithful. We don’t earn our righteousness, but there’s a reward for walking with God. Listen and obey when God speaks. Live for him and walk with him. Keep your eyes on the reward.
Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death: If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
When God saves us, we’ve attained to something, but we’ve not reached the final goal. Paul and Jesus had a conversation on the road to Damascus. Jesus stopped and caught him so they could. Paul wanted to obtain the reward that Jesus caught him for. There was a crown ahead at the end of the race. Even at the point of spiritual maturity you haven’t attained it all; the crown is still ahead. We can’t afford to stop before we get to the end. Don’t loose sight of the prize. Keep your eyes on the goal. We can keep being renewed within and keep pressing toward the prize.