Summary: Are you weary and thinking about quitting? Stay in! Are you thinking about taking a detour? Keep going straight ahead! Have you dropped out of the race? Get back in—it’s not too late! For your own sake, and for the sake of those who will come afte

Southend AM 11 07 2010

Two British gas employees were out reading meters one day when they started talking about how good a physical condition they were in.

One of them bragged that he when he was at school he was the fastest runner and always won competitions and races the other one claimed the same thing.

So they decided that after they had finished reading the meters on the street they were on they would both run a race back to their van at the other end of the street.

They finished reading the last meter and both took off at full speed up the street to where their van was parked.

They ran as fast as they could, first one edging ahead and then the other, they both reached the van at the same time and stopped to catch their breath, as they turned round, they noticed three other people who were out of breath, too. It seems they had run behind the two gas men.

One of the gas men asked them why they ran with them, and one of the people said that when you see gas men running away from a house, the only safe thing to do is run with them.

The Apostle Paul said we are to “Run with endurance the race that God has set before you” (Heb 12:1)

God has a race for you to run!

What an exciting thought—God has given us a race to run.

God has designed a purpose for your life—a purpose that you can discover and fulfill.

What is this race?

This race begins, not when you are born, but when you receive Christ and his gift of complete forgiveness.

The race involves the unique role God has given you to influence others for Christ.

Your race will be different than mine—but it will always revolve around showing and sharing Christ’s love both to people who don’t know him and people who do.

This race requires endurance for two reasons:

It is a marathon—not a sprint.

It begins the moment you receive Christ, and it lasts until you die or Christ returns.

The key is not how fast you start the race, but how consistently you run.

It is a steeple-chase marathon—it is filled with obstacles,

including opposition from people who aren’t in the race and don’t want you to be in the race,

from a cultural value-system that says to live for self instead of for Christ,

and from demonic forces that hate Jesus and want you out of the race.

This morning my question for you is

Are you running?

And if so, are you running to something,

or are you running away from it?

Sometimes, we end up running away from something even when there is no reason to,

don’t we?

Tonight I want to talk to you about something that is happening more and more in Christian relationships with the Lord.

I have seen the same thing happening over and over again in many lives,

and it doesn’t matter which church a person belongs to, it still happens.

I see individuals who come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ,

or a Christian who grows closer and stronger in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

At first, they become very excited about what God is doing in their lives,

but they soon become accustomed to having a life full of blessings, and they see that as routine.

This is the same attitude that a rich child might develop when they get are spoiled;

they get too many gifts too often and then they start expecting them on a regular basis without feeling any need to earn them.

This puts them in a safe little box of comfort,

and this newly found comfort does nothing to help them live their lives as people or Christians.

This attitude hinders the work of God, and, at best, allows the person to only grow to a small level of faith in the Lord.

They settle in their comfort zone, being happy that things don’t change - and then God will ask them to do something new, or in a way that they are not used to doing.

He might ask them to take a step of faith and do something that just doesn’t make much sense to them, and out of fear of the unknown,

they end up refusing to press onward.

By being so inflexible, Christians actually render themselves useless to God.

Most people will start thinking that they must understand everything God tells them to do BEFORE they become obedient enough to do it.

They believe that if it doesn’t make sense to them, it must be wrong.

They have forgotten that God works through other people, too.

The bottom line is, when this happens, their level of faith actually starts to deteriorate to the point that they cannot feel comfortable trusting God anymore.

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