Summary: If we want to RUN TO WIN as Christians in the persuit of Godliness, we must lay aside the things that would hinder us in the race.
1 Cor. 9:24-27
Can you imagine running a race and you have a 50 lb. sack on your back
Usane Bolt is the fastest man in the world. He can run 110 yards in 9.58 seconds… faster than it takes me to run to the front doors.
If he runs uphill… with a hat over his eyes… with this thing tied to him… I can outrun him in the 100 meter race.
“He would never do that!”
But we as Christians do it every day.
I’ll explain in a minute
Let’s look at some scripture…
1 Cor 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Hebrews 12:1-2 "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, looking unto Jesus...."
James 1:21-25 "Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does."
Our scripture shows us a PROBLEM… A SOLUTION… and THE RESULTS
Sin hinders… growth, victory, joy, peace, usefulness,
Sin easily entangles us.
Do you know why God hates sin?
Because of what it does to us.
Sin makes believers become defeated.
They can’t stand up with courage against sin because of the secret sin in their own lives.
They excuse the sins of others because of the disobedience in their own hearts and they can’t preach victory because they live in defeat.
Some of them once knew what it was like to live victoriously, taking vengeance against sin, having fulfilled Christ’s righteousness in their own lives.
They experienced the power, the courage, the blessings that come to those who are obedient to the Lord.
Today they hang their heads in shame, unable to look the world in the eye, victimized by a sin that rules their lives.
A besetting sin has robbed them of their spiritual vitality and one enemy after another is raised up against them.
A once mightily used evangelist now sells pre-need funeral policies in a small town in Texas. He once stood in the pulpit as a powerful preacher of the Gospel and thousands were converted through his ministry. He became an adulterer, left his wife. In just a few weeks, he lost everything. That minister is now but a shell of his old self. He has repented of his sin, but he cannot undo the past. God forgives, but people don’t.
When David was right with the Lord and in good fellowship, none of his enemies could stand before him. He slew them by the tens of thousands and his name was feared in every enemy camp.
David’s sin of adultery immediately followed one of his greatest victories. The Ammonite-Syrian war was one of Israel’s greatest battles. The Syrians fled before Israel - seven hundred chariots were destroyed, forty thousand horsemen killed and all the kings allied with the Ammonites and Syrians fled.
This great man of God, basking in the glory of his greatest victory, begins to lust after Bathsheba, kills her husband Uriah and commits adultery with her. "But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord" (2 Samuel 11:27).
So the Lord sent the prophet Nathan to David. Nathan got right to the heart of the matter. "Thou art the man. You have despised the commandment of the Lord. You have done evil in the sight of the Lord. You are guilty of secret sin."
But when David sinned and became estranged from the Lord, his enemies grew bold and triumphed over him. Sin caused him to lose his courage and confidence, making him weak before all his enemies.