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Summary: A message of encouragement when we are tired or losing faith.

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Text: 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have

kept the faith.”

Theme: Running this race of faith

Introduction

- In 2015 thousands of runners entered the Comrades marathon.

- I can imagine all the excitement and hype as these thousands of runners lined up at the start of the race.

- There are a few things that make the start of the race very exciting indeed:

• There are television stations from around the world that cover this event and interview runners at the beginning.

• There are race sponsors that hand out free stuff to runners.

• Everyone has trained and envision themselves finishing the race.

• Everyone is happy.

• Besides a handful that get ill before the race and those who cannot make it because of unforeseen circumstances, all runners start the race.

• There is a huge crowd cheering the runners on.

• There are lots of dignitaries present.

• Almost everyone has new gear (running shoes, running clothing) on.

• Everyone has taken the appropriate nutrition in the correct quantities to enable them to endure the race.

- And then the runners come under the starters orders, the gun is fired and the race begins.

- At this point there is huge cheering and there are crowds that line the start that shout encouragement.

- For the first 5 to 6 km the runners are all together.

- Thereafter, the real race begins as the athletes begin to pace themselves according to their training and tactics.

- We can liken the start of the comrades marathon to the watchnight service we have every new years eve.

- The church is full of people, eager to pray themselves into the new year.

- There is a lot of excitement as we all make decisions to serve God diligently in the year to come.

- There are lot of people present at the service and we are excited to enter into a new year.

- As we pray into the new year, we hear the sound of fireworks going off as the world also ushers in the new year.

- For the first month or so all is on track

• We come to church regularly.

• We pray and read the Bible.

• We stay away from the things that cause us to sin.

• We stay committed that THIS year we will be involved in the work of God.

- Then comes February….and the rubber begin to meet the road.

- All the hype of the beginning starts to die off…

- And the falling away begins….

1. The road is lonely

- As the runners of the comrades marathon leave the bright lights of the starting point and as they begin to come to the 5 – 6km mark, the change becomes very evident:

• The big cheering crowd becomes a thin line of supporters.

• There are very TV cameras as most of the media are following the BIG names out in the front.

• Its becomes just the runner, his competitors and the road.

• All the hype has died down and the runner has to get down to the business of finishing the race.

- Likewise with us, all the hype of the new year is long gone.

• The big crowd of the watchnight service is no longer around when we are alone in our homes, or our workplaces.

• There is hardly anyone around most of the time to prompt us along as we serve God.

• It becomes just us and God at times.

• All the hype of making that decision to serve God has died down and we are left with the business of being faithful.

• Although we are all together in unity in the church, each of us will be required to give an account of ourselves…for what we did for God…and for what we didn’t.

- Galatians 6: 4 – 5 says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”

- The scripture is very clear: we all have account for our own responsibilities in the Kingdom of God.

- And that responsibilities are ours alone.

- And therefore the road get lonely, because God call each one to their own task and we cannot be cheering you on in your task when we have our own to fulfil.

- And therein also lies a warning…we have to give an account of ourselves.

- If God has given us a task, we have to do it….even when nobody sees.

- Yes, sometimes this road is lonely.

- When you’re at home or at work or wherever.

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