Summary: Part 2 of 3 in the series "Going For the Gold." The second characteristic needed to become a world-class Christian is determination.
STAY THE COURSE
Going For The Gold:
How to be a World-Class Christian
August 8, 2003
This morning we will be continuing our series titled “Going For The Gold: How to be a World-Class Christian.” Last week we looked at the issue of sacrifice and learned that we have to “give up to go up.” This week we will look at another issue that is necessary to become a world-class Christian – determination.
If you are going to accomplish anything that is worth doing you are going to have to be determined because the really great things in life don’t come easy. If you want to become President of the United States one day, you have to be determined to do so. You have to dedicate much of your life to that pursuit. You can’t just out of the blue one year enter your name for candidacy and expect to have chance to win.
If you want to get a raise or a promotion at work, you have to be determined to get it. You are going to have to work hard and do a good job. You are going to have to put in your time. Promotions don’t happen overnight and for no reason.
The same is true of world-class athletes like the ones who will be competing in Athens this month. None of them were just going through the motions of life when out of the blue they decided to enter the Olympic trials last month. For years they have been determined to make the Olympic team. And that determination has driven them to practice and train and discipline themselves for this very time.
The secret to becoming a world-class Christian is the same. You don’t become a world-class Christian by accident or by chance. You have to be determined to become one. It is not just a matter of being a Christian for a long time. We have all know people who have matured physically without maturing mentally or emotionally. The same is true spiritually. You can be a Christian for years and yet have failed to grow into Christ likeness and produce the fruit of the Spirit. You have to be determined to practice spiritual disciplines like prayer and bible study. You have to be determined to obey God even when it isn’t easy or pleasant. You have to be determined to do what’s right even when no one is looking.
This week we are returning to Hebrews 12:1 to find three things that we must be determined to do if we are going to become world-class Christians and bring home the gold. Remember what I told you last week. This goal is doable. This goal is attainable. This goal is within the reach of every single person here today. Before we even get into these three things make a decision to go for it. Be determined to go for the gold. You can do it.
1. Get In The Game.
1blet us run
“Let us run.” Be determined to get in the game. These are simple words and yet they are so profound. No one in all of history has ever won a race that they did not run. That sounds so logical and yet it is not quite true. I was watching a special on the ancient Greek games earlier this week and learned something quite interesting. The rich would have their servants compete in the chariot races in the name of their master and if they won their master got the crown. One year a man had his slave compete not in his name, but in the name of a woman. He won the race and this woman was awarded the crown. Because she was the first woman to win an Olympic event some in modern times have held her up as someone who was progressing women’s right to compete. But historians say no. The man who entered his servant in this woman’s name was actually seeking to make a mockery of this system. He was in effect saying, “See, this system is so pathetic that even a woman can win.”
There really is something messed up about a system like that. And let me tell you that it will not work in the spiritual realm. You’re not going to become a world-class Christian because somebody ran the race for you. You’re not going to make it to heaven because your mom or dad or grandparent or spouse ran a great race and became a world-class Christian. You actually have to get in the game.
And when I say that you have to get in the game I’m not merely talking about becoming a Christian. It is possible to be an athlete and yet not compete. It seems that many Christians are quite content to do that very thing. Content to become a Christian. Content to have their sins forgiven. Content to attend church on Sundays. Content to go through the motions without getting in the game. Content to sit on the sidelines watching while others play the game. John Maxwell estimates that 20% of the Christians in the church do 80% of the work. While the other 80% of Christians do only 20% of the work. Which category do you fall into?