Summary: How to run the race God set before us and complete it.
Title: Running the race and winning it!
Text: 1Corinthians 9:24-25
I believe that all of us have participated in a cross-country race. When I was in secondary school, the cross-country race is a yearly affair and we have to train and run the cross-country whether we like it or not. For the first two years, I was not really in the race. I was forced to run and because of that I literally walked the race. I did not run to win.
However in my upper secondary years, I suddenly have a vision of winning the cross-country. This time my attitude towards the race was different. I took every training seriously. I took runs on my own. I was in the race and I wanted to win.
In 1Corinthians 9:24-25
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Paul told the Corinthian church to run the race in such a way that they may become champions or winners in their race on earth. What Paul meant is that each and everyone one of us, has a destiny given by God.
11 ’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ’ plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."
In revival generation we believed that your destiny does not depend on your education, your family background, or even your past. We believed that each and every one of you have a divine destiny given by God and that each and everyone of you can become a champion in the race God has given you.
1. Embraced the race
To be a champion in the race, you first have to embrace the race.
Like what I said, in my earlier years, I was running the race but I was not embracing it. It was a total waste of time and effort for me.
Some of us we carry such an attitude for various reasons.
- Some of us do not see value in the race that God has set before us. We rather set our eyes on the race of the world. A. Popularity with Friends. B. Satisfying the desires of the flesh.
- But there is value in the race that God has set before us.
- Embracing and running the race is the only way we obtained true purpose in our lives. The race of the world only have a temporal satisfaction that slowly fades away.
- Embracing and running the race is the only way we receive Godâ€™s best into our lives.
2. Exercise Self-Control in the Race
A champion athlete exercises self-control.
This speaks of the athleteâ€™s:
Character flaws unchanged by God will one day cause you to drop out of the race.
Cast away Pride, Arrogance, Rebellion.
Develop a spirit of humilty, submission, endurance and love for God and one another.
b. Act of exercising Restraint
An athlete exercise extreme restraint in their food intake. They know that certain food will create fats and thus deter them in the running of their race.
We need to exercise restraint.
What are the areas that are causing you to slow down in the race or even drop out of the race in 2006?
c. Fleeing from Temptations
NAS Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
- Tourist in the Australian Nature Reserve eaten by Crocodile
The night was hot and they were tempted by the inviting water though the were sign boards warning of crocodiles everywhere.
Deal with the sin areas and flee from the sin areas in your life.
3. Envision the Prize of the Race
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Paul had a difficult race to run. His calling was one of beating, stoning, and being jailed.
There are many factors why Paul became a winner in the race. The one which I want to highlight is that Paul always envisioned the prize set before him.
- I always envisioned the day when I meet Christ face to face. I want to win the prize of His approval â€œWell done good and faithful servant.â€