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INTRO: The American Olympic basketball team, made up of college players, made a mediocre showing at Seoul, Korea, in the 1988 summer games. Back home, people were greatly disappointed, especially since other teams sported professional athletes. The Olympic games in 1992 proved to be quite different, as Americans savored the prospects of sending their best professional basketball players to Barcelona. They came to be known as the “Dream Team.”
Not only did they win, but they dominated every team they faced in bringing back the gold to the United States. All along, the team had one goal in mind—to win the gold, and they did it in grand style!
Anyone who is going to win in the Olympics not only must have faith (the belief that he will win) and training (the preparation to win), he also must have the goal of winning before him at all times. Its just as true in the Olympics of life.
I. A WINNER MUST FOCUS ON THE GOAL.
What runners focus on during a race is critically important. As they come down the track, they must look straight ahead to the goal. It is the prize before them. The runners must not look into the stands the see who’s cheering. Certainly they must not look back. Such distractions only cause them to lose their balance, give up speed, or stray off the track.
This principle holds true in the Christian life. Hebrews 12:2 says “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (NIV). We Christians must focus on Christ. We do not want to be like a fanatic. A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts after he has lost sight of his goal. Christians can lose sight of Jesus when they focus on the wrong things.
The Christian does not want to focus on circumstances, self, or other people. In the Christian race we are not competing against one another. Christ is the standard by which we are to measure ourselves. So, our focus must be on Jesus.
II. A WINNER MUST STRAIN FORWARD TO THE GOAL.
Read Philippians 3:13-14. This means we are to move forward, not backward. We are to reach toward the future, not the past.
ILLUS: American Gail Devers won the 100-meter dash by only 6/100 of a second over her four top competitors in 1992. Gail suffers from Grave’s disease. Just one year before she won the Olympic gold, Gail came within two days of having both feet amputated. After surviving that scare, she began to train and push herself toward her goal. Her determination and persistence won the day. Who would have thought the fastest woman in the world was the same woman who almost lost her feet. This showed the triumph of the Olympic spirit.
III. A WINNER MUST FINISH AND REACH THE GOAL.
The goal cannot be reached if the runner does not complete the race. Finishing is a wonderful feeling.
Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith. When I am most prone to wander, when my faith wavers, Jesus works in my heart to sustain my faith. He enables me to endure to the end.
Think of it like this. At the finish line stands the Judge of the ancient games. This is a different Judge than we might think. He is not one to be feared, but rather one to be trusted. He has earned the right to officiate, because He is the greatest champion the games have ever produced. He is calling for you and me to share in His victory. Strategically
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