I. The characteristics of the race
How many times have you heard a sermon or listened to a Bible Study or read a book about following Jesus and said to yourself: "I've got to try harder to be a better Christian"? That's like me saying, "I'm going to try really hard to compete in a triathlon.
I would only be able compete in a triathlon by training for a triathlon. We arrange our life around certain disciplines that help us gain power and strength to become more like Jesus each day, to live a life as Jesus taught and modeled. The activities of prayer, Bible Study, worship, service, evangelism, stewardship are among the needed the disciplines for running the spiritual race. The secret to winning the race, to truly live a Christlike life, is to order our lives around those activities, disciplines, and practices that were modeled by Christ, in order to accomplish through training what we cannot now do by trying.
Returning to the notion of running a marathon in the next Olympics, you begin working out; you quickly understand the need for intentional training. The Olympic Committee enlisted you to run, not a sprint, but a In a sprint, you run a short distance as fast as you can. Speed is of utmost importance. But in a long distance contest such as a marathon, endurance is the key. You want to make it to the end. I'm told that two critical times exist in a marathon race. The first one is at the beginning. As you leave the starting line, you feel so good that you believe that you can keep up this pace throughout the race.
The temptation is to run too fast too soon. Energy is expended and none is left for the end of the race. The second critical time in a marathon is at the halfway point. You suddenly realize that you still have as far to go as you've already run and you're already very tired. Runners call it "hitting the wall.
The Christian Race and Other Sermons, Vol.3 by J.C. Ryle - Trinity Book Service
Races are not always won by the fastest. But rather by the one that keeps hanging on, who refuses to give up. Those who persist prevail. Groberg in his poem "The Race" describes a young boy who ran a race, falling many times, yet finishing. He wrote in one stanza. And to his dad he sadly said, "I didn't do too well.
Likewise, the great need for spiritual races is persistence. Time and time again The Scripture exhort us to persist and endure. The apostle Paul prayed for the Colossians "May you be strengthened with all power. Paul reminded Timothy, "if we endure, we will also reign with Him" 2 Tim. Then the writer of Hebrews states, "For you need endurance, so that after you have done God's will, you may receive what was promised" Heb.
In the spiritual race you are running, don't quit. Never give up.
Keep going. If you have tripped and fallen, don't stay there. Maybe life has thrown you some curve balls. Maybe in your race you've been knocked off your feet a few times. You are thinking since you're already on the ground, there's no point in getting back up. Rather than getting up you're planning on hanging it up. The movie, Chariots of Fire, is the true story of Eric Liddell, a man who ran in the Olympics for Scotland, then went on to become a missionary.
He ran the , , and yard events. The video clip from Chariots of Fire may be shown here or just tell the story.
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In the , he got off to a bad start. When the gun sounded, there was a lot of shoving to get in front to the inside land, the advantageous position. Liddell tangled feet with J. Gillies of England and tumbled to the track. He sat there dazed for a moment, not knowing whether he could get up, when the official screamed, "Get up and run! In a quarter mile, that's a long distance to make up. In his unorthodox style of running he took off after the pack. He pulled into fourth place ten yards behind the leader, J. With forty yard to go, he pulled into third place, then second.
Right at the tape he passed Gillies, stuck his chest out, won the race, and collapsed to the track in total exhaustion. Medical personnel had to assist him off the track that day. An article appearing the next day in The Scotsman newspaper said, "The circumstances in which Liddell won the race made it a performance bordering on the miraculous. Veterans whose memories take them back thirty-five years and in some cases longer in the history of athletics were unanimous in the opinion that Liddell's win in the quarter mile was the greatest track performance they had ever seen.
There is something noble and honorable about not quitting - about getting back up and dusting yourself off and continuing to compete. Remember it is not about finishing last or finishing first, but simply about finishing. Don't give up on God because he hasn't given up on you.
You can do this. You can finish the race. You can bring home the gold. Back to your home, the Olympic Committee leaves.
You are left pondering their proposal. It all comes down to one question: Will you engage in the training so that you will have the endurance to run the race? Will you get off the sofa and get in the race? The same question is apropos for the spiritual race: Will you engage in the training so that you will have the endurance to run the race? Will you get off the pew and get in the race? Select an option and chat directly with a member of our support team. Features: Leader helps to guide questions and discussions within small groups Personal study segments to complete between 7 weeks of group sessions Enriching interactive teaching videos, approximately 30 minutes per session, available for purchase or rent Benefits: Experience the unconditional love and call of Jesus.cpanel.openpress.alaska.edu/mediating-and-remediating-death.php
The Heavenly Race
Discover your inherent value and kingdom mission. Gain confidence to share the living hope of Christ. Help people belong in a world where they feel unseen.