Summary: Comparing the pursuit of a love relationship with Jesus and the race of ultimate importance
RUN THE RACE
Today is a special day
It’s a day to prepare our hearts
and a day to prepare our church
for what God wants to do through us
Over the next 6 days we will have
the biggest opportunity of the year to teach children
what it means to become and grow as a Christian
Not only is it a huge opportunity it’s a huge responsibility
And any time you have a huge responsibility
you have to consider your attitude
Now over the years I’ve found that there are
about 3 different attitudes that Christians have
towards knowing and serving God
The first one is what I call the “Give it all I got” attitude
This is the Christian that says,
“I realize that on my own, in this lifetime,
I will never achieve holiness or perfection
in my relationship with God.
But because I am so grateful
for all Jesus did for me on the cross at Calvary,
and because God’s word tells me to “be holy as He is holy”
I am going to give it all I got, even if I fail.
And when I do fail, I’m going to get back up
and I’m going to try as hard as can until I fail again.
And I’m going to keep going, and keep trying,
and keep striving until the day
when Jesus makes me perfect in Heaven.
I owe Him at least that much
The second attitude that I have found
is what I call the “No sense putting myself out” attitude
This is the Christian who says,
“Look, let’s be realistic about this.
I’ll admit that I owe God something,
but I also know that I’m never going to be
all that He wants me to be.
I’ll do the best I can, but there’s no sense
in putting myself out too far on a limb here.
I may not be the best Christian,
but I’m certainly not the worst either.
The third attitude I have found
is what I call the “Why try” attitude
This is the Christian on the other end of the spectrum
that says “look, let’s be honest with ourselves.
We aren’t perfect.
We’re never going to be perfect.
And there’s really no sense in trying to be.
And by the way, don’t judge me,
because you’re no better than I am.
Now all of this reminds me of some things
that the Apostle Paul had to say:
In 1 Cor. 9:24-27 he said, (#1)
“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. 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. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
In 2 Tim 4:7 he said (#2)
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day – and not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearing.”
in Philippians 3:12-14 he said, (#3)
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
(# 4 BLANK)
And so we can see this attitude about
knowing and growing and serving God
in terms of running a race.
I want you to imagine with me this morning (#5)
The most important race ever run
A race of supreme importance
Maybe you could think of it as the Olympics (#6)
with a 100 million dollar prize for the winner
You can imagine how motivated the participants would be (#7)
to train their bodies and their minds
for the highest possible level of performance.
The runners step on to the track (#8)
and make their way to the starting line
They’re sizing one another up,
trying to determine who their best competition will be
Looking for one another’s strength’s and weaknesses
You can see in their eyes that they are all business