"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Running The Race with Momentum
A. Life is a journey, similar to as the Word tells us a “race.”
Hebrews 12:1 King James Version (KJV)
“12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”
There are many things about life that can be compared to a long race according to the Word of God. For example, having the patience and endurance to run a marathon is no easy task and neither is life, but is certainly possible with lots of practice. When we encounter resistance and road blocks along our journey, God allows these obstructions to resist us in order to build us up.
This verse also instructs us not just to run, but to “run with patience.” Are we waiting upon God for our next steps, or do we go where our heart pleases?
B. A race is how you run it, not how fast
2 Timothy 4:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”
When I played football in high school, the running backs would follow a set of drills that took them running through tires attached to two poles which was meant to slow them down as they ran through them, after that they had to step through tires to learn agility and footwork.
The same holds true for Christians as well. We go through a series of challenges and resistance that allows us to build up our spiritual strength and agility, equipping us with the spiritual know how to resist the blows of the enemy.
There may be times in the hot August sun during practice when you feel like quitting, especially when it comes time for the two-a-day practices (you heard that right, two practices a day), but we have to finish our course and finish strong. There is an award waiting for us on the other side. We do this for Christ who died for us. As athletes, we were willing to run through a brick wall for our coach, what are you willing to do for Jesus who gave his life for yours?
C. A race requires us to stay on our feet and get up when we fall
Jeremiah 12:5 (KJV)
“5 If thou hast run with the footmen, and they have wearied thee, then how canst thou contend with horses? and if in the land of peace, wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?”
There were many times in practice where we would fall so much the coach would stop everything and make us practice balancing drills. As followers of Christ, we don’t want to require the Lord to send us through balancing drills to often, however there will come a time when you will fall on your face. You may even get smashed in the mouth by the opponent. It’s your job to get back up and keep going.
One tip that always helped us to stay on our feet was to always consistently chop our feet. I can still here the whistle now followed by a loud, chop..chop…chop! Those who could move their feet the quickest and most proficient could stay on their feet and move greater distances. As followers of Christ, it is our duty to stay on our feet and stay spiritually grounded on our “footwork” in His Word. It is there where we will find the teaching we need to inform us of how to “stay on our spiritual feet without falling.” When we do fall, it will help assist us in the rebuilding of our faith and confidence to get back out there and run again.
If we can’t keep our spiritual feet under us and keeping us going in the good times, how do we expect to keep ourselves going in the bad? This is what the prophet Jeremiah challenged the Hebrews with in this verse. How can you run with the horses of the enemy if you can’t keep up with the men by foot?
D. We already know the end result
Isaiah 40:1-4 (KJV)
“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins.
3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain:”
This is what Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary has to say about this portion of Scripture:
"When eastern princes marched through desert countries, ways were prepared for them, and hinderances removed. And may the Lord prepare our hearts by the teaching of his word and the convictions of his Spirit, that high and proud thoughts may be brought down, good desires planted, crooked and rugged tempers made straight and softened, and every hinderance removed, that we may be ready for his will on earth, and prepared for his heavenly kingdom."
The Word says “every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.” It reminds me of what it is like to run down the hill rather than against it.
Have you ever raced someone on foot?
How about raced down a hillside? What was it like?
If you experienced the same things I have, you felt extra momentum behind you, pushing so hard it almost knocked you over. Of course, too much momentum can many times send us out of control.
Running the race of our life is almost like running downhill because we already know Christ wins this battle. We already know that if we can manage to finish, we have already won. However, God doesn’t just want us to finish, he wants us to live life with momentum! He wants us to come off of our mountaintops and into our valleys with such spiritual authority that we bounce the enemy right off our shoulder pads of faith.
One day we won’t have to run this race, it will have been won once and for all!
In the mean-time, run it with authority so that when we descend, we descend with such spiritual momentum that we bust through whatever resistance awaits us at the bottom of the valley.
The way to our destination or goal may not always be clear, but if we hit it hard enough, with enough momentum, and enough power or force, we can bust through to our destination!
Praise God in your good times, praise Him in your bad, praise Him in your horrible, praise Him in your Sad, whatever you do, just praise Him. If you praise Him, you are worshiping Him and if you
worship Him, eventually you will pray to Him. This is how we build spiritual momentum.
So join hands with me as we run this gauntlet of life! What is there to lose? Jesus is right there with us, pulling us along when we lose momentum. He restores us in our time of need, providing us with the "river of living water" for our soul, enabling us to finish this race victorious!
Whatever It Takes: Believers Display Greatness!
Colossians 3:23-24 (KJV)
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Have you ever evaluated the effort that you put into your activities?
How do we perform at work, school, ministry, relationships, social engagements, etc. ?
How much effort to we put into having a relationship with God and getting to know Him?
How much effort do we put forth in our activities when we know others are looking at us?
How about when we know they aren’t?
Christians should have integrity and integrity requires greatness in all we do!
Here are a few principles that I have discovered about greatness:
1. Greatness Requires Much Effort
While many individuals will say they give a great effort towards having success in all of these areas, the reality is that the conditions of this world speaks for itself. We live in a messed up and broken society.
Of course, I am preaching to the choir on this one, but it seems over the past decade that greatness has been less and less of a value in our society.
Have you ever seen an athlete on television who was the most achieved, recognized, and known as a winner in their sport lack greatness? I have never seen such an athlete who has not given great effort towards achieving greatness before getting such recognition.
Most great athletes spend nearly their whole woken day in the gym or on their respective field improving their game, while usually also enhancing their bodies with focused workouts before and even sometimes after their practices.
Athletes such as Tiger Woods and LeBron James spend double digit hours a day honing their skills and working on their bodies.
What does this kind of work ethic say about them? Surely it shows us they are passionate about what they do!
Sometimes these athletes have to go above and beyond their normal routines to achieve greatness. During the NBA playoffs, LeBron James spends great time icing his joints and receiving specialized treatments to help his body heal. This is effort and time invested in his body, in hopes that It will pay off come time for the next game. This is going above and beyond his normal routine.
Sometimes we as believers and servants of Christ, have to do what it takes whether it is writing 13 pages for a 4 page paper or going above and beyond expectation!
As temporary citizens of this world and believers among the lost and dying we must do everything with greatness!
2. Greatness Requires Persistency
Have you ever been a fan of an athlete that wasn’t always persistent? There were many occasions where I was that athlete who was not persistent night in and night out on the football field. Sometimes I showed moments of greatness, while there were many times in practice where I just did not give enough effort to be consistent on game day.
As believers, we must display greatness by being persistent daily.
I have said it many times now, “persistence overcomes all resistance!”
Being persistent means doing the right things at the right times day in and day out. We need to give God persistency in our faith, in our relationship with Him, and in our effort in the every day things of life. If we do not honor Him with the small assignments, how can He trust us with the larger ones?
Luke 16:10 KJV
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”
Remember that God always finishes what He starts!
Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”
3. Greatness Requires Faithfulness
You can always spot greatness a million miles away because greatness always stands as a symbol of faith. Those individuals who have experienced greatness are always faithful to their cause. You don’t become great by giving up what you are doing. You become great by dedicating yourself (becoming a slave to Christ). That term slave represents giving all of ourselves to Him. Of course we know there is freedom in Christ and no one is bound by Him, however we can willingly lay down our own selfish ambitions and goals for the sake of service and honor to the Lord God of Heaven.
The faithful are always reliable. A husband who has a good and faithful wife knows that at the end of the day when he comes home, she will be there waiting for him. He does not have to worry because he has a faithful wife, and Proverbs 31 woman.
Christ as the groom of the church desires a faithful bride, who awaits His arrival. However, we are not to sit idly by waiting for Him to just show up any minute by holding life at a pause. We are to diligently serve Him until His triumphant return as faithful servants to His Kingdom. The work we do here and the service we give, reflects who we are and how faithful we are to the cause of Christ. Let us build the kingdom of God so that we may rejoice with those we bring along with us on the other side of glory!