Summary: On your mark, get set, GO . . . We are all running. Life is a race. To run well, you must run smart.
Pt. 4 – Running to Win
We have almost completed our journey in this series. We have been talking about running and the lessons that I learned as I ran cross country in High School. This is your last opportunity to gaze at the amazing, awe inspiring picture of me with my cross country team. I want this picture to be burned into your mind because it is possible this picture will be burned in the trash can!
Out of the lessons that I learned running we have talked about Indian Running. This is the concept of encouraging one another and helping those coming after you to run faster. We have talked about the concept that running hurts and the only way to endure is to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, to recognize that pain is an indication of our Father’s love, it is our birthmark, it makes us legitimate, and if we will endure we will harvest righteousness and peace. Then last week we talked about hurdles. We make the devil’s job way too easy. We allow what are supposed to be pit stops to become parking lots. We already possess enough power and authority to overcome the hurdles in our path. To conquer those hurdles we must take the series of steps beginning with the first one that will get us over!
So today I want to wrap up by discussing running to win! There is no sense in running unless we are going to run to win!
Let’s go back to our text!
Hebrews 12:1, 16-17
1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. (NIV)
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. (Living Bible)
And let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (KJV)
16-17 Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
1. Pace is paramount!
I can still remember one of the first competitive races I ever ran. We all lined up and when the gun went off the mad dash began! I was inexperienced and seeing the blazing speed of the start I felt like I had to keep up! I took off at a full sprint. After about a mile I realized I had made a crucial mistake and that I couldn’t continue that speed. Interestingly enough a lot of those guys that took off so quickly at the beginning ended up finishing at the back of the pack! I learned that pace is paramount. I discovered that sometimes you may just have to let some folks pass you at the beginning of the race so that you can pass them later in the race.
Some of you are great sprinters when it comes to gaining material possessions! You have more things right now than your parents had at the end of their race.
Some of you are incredible sprinters at the beginning of relationship. You know how to win the other person’s heart. You can turn on the romance and the charm.
Some of you are outstanding sprinters spiritually. You sprint from one spiritual high to the next.
But I need to remind you that pace is paramount! If you are going to win you must have a sustainable pace! Starting the race is not nearly as impressive as finishing the race. Thousands start . . . few finish! 1 Kings 20:11 – ’One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’
What good is it to sprint to owning enough stuff to bankrupt you and put you in financial bondage? What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?
What good does it do win the heart and yet be unable to keep the heart? What good does it do to have the most incredible first date, but have the relationship end up on the ash heap with hearts broken and shattered 6 months or worse yet 6 years and 2 children later?
What good does it do to sprint from one feel good service to the next only to discover that you can’t find that next spiritual high this month? What if it is 6 months until you have another knock you off your feet encounter with God?
Listen . . . This is not a sprint, we are in a marathon! We are supposed to be running with patience, endurance. Pace yourself. Set a sustainable speed so that you can finish the race.