Summary: This is the 6th sermon in the series "Faith Under Fire".
Series: Faith Under Fire (Daniel)[#6]
RUNNING OR RUINING?
I have been watching some of the Olympic Trials this year and because my kids are active in swimming we have noticed some things about being a world class athlete. As Tyler is preparing for the State Swimming Meet we have found that it is not always easy to get where you need to be.
As we continue in our series, we find that the new king, Darius the Mede appointed 120 satraps to rule and those satraps answered to 3 administrators. Daniel was one of those administrators and was doing so well that Darius was getting ready to put Daniel over the entire kingdom. At this news the administrators and satraps began to search for some “dirt” on Daniel. Since they were unsuccessful at this attempt to discredit Daniel, they went to Darius and asked him to write a decree that stated that no one could pray to anyone except to Darius for 30 days and if they did they would be thrown into a lion’s den. Darius agreed and wrote this decree. In accordance to the laws of the Medes and Persians, once a decree was written it could not be altered.
The administrators and satraps knew that Daniel prayed to his God 3 times a day and probably would not stop; and they were correct. They went to Darius and reported Daniel. As a result, Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den where God sent His angel and shut the mouths of the lion. Darius wrote a new decree stating that everyone must revere and fear Daniel’s God and Daniel’s accusers and families were cast into the lion’s den where they died.
This morning, Daniel will serve as our example of what a strong runner for God looks like. Ask yourself, “Am I running for the Kingdom or am I ruining for the Kingdom”?
A strong runner…
The difference between a strong runner and a “so-so” runner is preparation.
In order to have the strength, endurance, etc… needed to be good, one must train each day. Taking days off, eating incorrectly, not following your coaches instruction, not warming up, not getting enough rest, etc… are all things that lead to doing poorly as a runner. Christians, our daily training is as important to our running a good spiritual race as a world class runner’s training is for running a good race. Christians, we must also realize that we are not running a sprint, but a long distance.
Daniel didn’t just start praying or living for God. We know that Daniel ate only the food that was permitted according to Jewish Law (followed God’s Word), he had fellowship with other believers, he was a witness for God, and he prayed daily. He was in daily training.
Here is the regiment for our spiritual training:
1. Balance diet (The Bible and walking in the Spirit).
2. Prayer (communication with the Coach).
3. Exercise (fellowship with other believers).
Here is some important reminders concerning your spiritual training:
1. It must be daily.
2. It must not be distracted.
3. It must be done.
Not only must a strong runner train each day, they must also set goals. Without goals you have nothing to reach for.
Daniel had one main goal in mind: Follow God obediently each day.
Here is some goals that a Christian should have:
1. Our main goal should be the same as Daniel’s: Follow God obediently each day.
2. Another goal should be to not just run the race, but to win the race.
A strong runner prepares and …
Regardless of a runner’s training and goals, if they don’t show up to the race it is pointless.
Daniel had been spiritually training with his main goal in mind for years, but the true test was when he had to show up to the race- continue praying to God.
Christians, you can read the Bible, pray, go to church, etc…; but if you do not take action on those things that God ask you to do, then you are not in the race. Many Christians like to sit and watch other Christians run the race and critique them. Christians, you need to get up and start running the race.
1. If you are here without Christ as your Savior; you have the wrong coach and you are going to lose. In fact you are running the wrong race.
2. Christians, are you training for the race each day and are you running the race?
3. Some of you Christians here this morning are sitting down. You have stopped running the race. Maybe you have fallen down, you are too weak to keep running, you are too hurt to keep running, etc…