Summary: A message based on the Olympic Games. This message deals with life situations.
THE WILL TO WIN
INTRO: How exciting it was to see Olympians who succeeded in Seoul return four years later at Barcelona and do it all over again—swimmers like Matt Biondi and Janet Evans, athletes like Jackie Joyner-Kersy, and runners like Carl Lewis. Then there was Pablo Morales, who won the gold in swimming in 1984, failed to make the team in 1988, and came back, winning the gold again in 1992.
These true Olympians demonstrated that they had winning power and also staying power. They had an incredible will to remain in competition all that time. As Tom Landry stated, “The will to reach your goal is the most important quality of all champions.” Certainly this statement is true in the Olympics of life. What kind of will must it be?
I. IT MUST BE A DETERMINED WILL.
The mark of a winner is his or her heart—the will to win, the drive, the determination. You can have a gifted athlete who has all the potential in the world but who still does not win. He or she must be determined.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, “The race is not to the swift” (NIV). What makes the difference? What gives the one who wins the edge? It’s heart. It’s willpower. A person must be willing to overcome obstacles in order to win. What we believers do is up to each of us. What is the anatomy of your heart? Are you determined in your pursuit of the ultimate prize? Nothing else really matters.
II. IT MUST BE A CONSUMING WILL.
You must have a burning desire to reach your goal. Did you ever hear of the first Olympic marathon runner? His name was Pheidippedes (Fi-dp-a-dees).
ILLUS: The year was 490 B.C. On the plains near the small town of Marathon, the ancient Greeks met the invading Persian army in battle. If the Persians won, the Greek Empire would topple.
Against all possible odds, the Greeks charged into the Persian camp, caught their enemy by surprise, defeated the Persians, and saved the Greek Empire. A Greek solder, Pheidippedes, was dispatched to run to army headquarters in Athens, 22 miles away, with the good news. With determination and resolve, he ran all night long from Marathon to Athens.
Pheidippedes became a Greek hero, a symbol of determination and endurance. As a tribute to this faithful soldier who ran so bravely through the night, the marathon race was born.
In the same way Pheidippedes was consumed with the determination to reach his goal at Athens, believers in Christ must be consumed with the passion to serve Him to the very end—the goal of our lives.
Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness? Does your soul yearn for the Lord? Are you consumed by your desire to serve Him? That’s what it takes to be a spiritual winner in the Christian life!
III. IT MUST BE AN ENDURING WILL.
An athlete must persevere to the end of the contest. A Christian must persevere to the end of his life. Have you ever heard the saying, “Winners never quit; quitters never win”? Christians never quit. We may be temporarily hampered by obstacles, but we’re never knocked out of the race in the Olympics of life. Staying power: that’s what it’s all about!
James 1:12, NIV says; “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” What are the things that threaten to stop us? Usually petty things, peripheral issues, hurt feelings, misunderstandings.
It’s always too soon to quit. (Read Psalm 37:7 again.) Some of you may want to quit your marriage. Some may want to quit your jobs. Some may want to quit all your responsibilities. And some of you may even want to quit the church.
Endurance is the key. Sticking with it over the long haul. God is not interested in the 100-meter dash. He wants you to run the marathon and make it!
ILLUS: In the 1986 New York City Marathon, almost 20,000 runners entered the race. What is memorable is not who won, but who finished last. His name was Bob Wieland. He finished 19,413th—dead last. Bob completed the New York marathon in 4 days, 2 hours, 47 minutes, and 17 seconds. It was unquestionably the slowest marathon in history—ever. So, what is it that made Bob Wieland’s marathon so special? Bob ran with his arms. 17 years earlier while in Vietnam, Bob’s legs were blown off in battle. He sits on a 15 pound saddle and covers his fists with pads. He uses his arms to catapult himself forward one arm-length at a time. He can run a mile in an hour. That is real endurance in the face of adversity.