Summary: We all have a race to run, only one can win. The Bible is our manual on how to run to win

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Key Scripture for series: 1 Cor 9:24-27

(1 Corinthians 9:24 ESV) Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

(1 Corinthians 9:25 ESV) Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.

(1 Corinthians 9:26 ESV) So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

(1 Corinthians 9:27 ESV) But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

It is not surprising that the most common metaphors used to describe the lives of Christians are:

1. Athlete

2. Soldier

The New Testament also uses words that describe what it means to be a Christ follower: fight, conqueror, battle, strive, victory.

Nothing is easy in a broken messed up world with people like us that have a spiritually defective DNA.

God therefore encourages us to compete… at the highest level.

(1 Timothy 6:12 GW) Fight the good fight for the Christian faith. Take hold of everlasting life to which you were called and about which you made a good testimony in front of many witnesses.

We have an enemy called Satan, but the most relentless competition you and I will face as believers in Jesus Christ is internal and self.

(Romans 7:22 GW) I take pleasure in God's standards in my inner being.

(Romans 7:23 GW) However, I see a different standard at work throughout my body. It is at war with the standards my mind sets and tries to take me captive to sin's standards which still exist throughout my body.

(Galatians 5:17 GW) What your corrupt nature wants is contrary to what your spiritual nature wants, and what your spiritual nature wants is contrary to what your corrupt nature wants. They are opposed to each other. As a result, you don't always do what you intend to do.

1. It’s all about me, isn’t it?

There is a constant struggle between embracing a selfish or an unselfish attitude. (Jas 4:1-2) God uses the power of a selfless attitude so that He can develop our character to touch other people’s lives.

(Philippians 2:3 GW) Don't act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.

(Philippians 2:4 GW) Don't be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself but it is thinking of yourself less.

People that win gold medals for Jesus are passionate about developing a spirit of humility because they know and understand that selfishness weakens them.

2. Revenge: Don’t I deserve it?

We cannot control if we will be hurt be others but we can control how long they will hurt us.

(Hebrews 12:15 GW) Make sure that everyone has kindness from God so that bitterness doesn't take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many of you.

Bitterness/unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting in anticipation for the other person to get sick

(Colossians 3:13 GW) Put up with each other, and forgive each other if anyone has a complaint. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

(Romans 8:37 GW) The one who loves us gives us an overwhelming victory in all these difficulties.

God uses the bad things in life that are directed at us to shape our lives in order to minister to others. (2 Cor 1:3-4)

3. Why is it impossible for me to have my own personal “easy” button?

Too many people are coasting through life because when you don’t know what life is worth living for, then you also don’t know what’s worth fighting for.

Training to win means

• Gold medal champions for Jesus understand that training has to start and continue not in the glaring lights and in front of a crowd only but

• When we become quiet before God and learn to trust and lean on His grace and following Jesus’ example of thinking of ourselves less, forgiving as we have been forgiven and not just doing what we feel like but doing what is right.

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