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Running the race

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If you are a Christian the bible says according to Hebrews 12 verse 1 that you are in a race. Whenever we watch a long distance race such as a marathon we can learn so much from the runners' endurance and dedication and apply it to our own lives.

Published in: Spiritual, Sports
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Running the race

  1. 1. Running the Race A study of Hebrews 12 verse 1
  2. 2. Whenever I watch a long distance race such as a marathon, I amalways impressed by the runners‘ fitness, endurance and dedication.As a Christian I am in a race of a different kind but I can still pick up afew pointers from those long distance runners which will help me inmy own race.This race is described in Hebrews Chapter 12 verse 1:―Therefore, since we are surrounded by such agreat cloud of witnesses, let us throw offeverything that hinders and the sin that so easilyentangles, and let us run with perseverance therace marked out for us.‖
  3. 3. (1) EncouragementLet‘s look at the first part of the verse; ―Therefore, since weare surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses" sowhat does that mean?When we see the word ‗Therefore‘ it means that a lot hasbeen said before. We are in the middle of a point the writeris making. In Hebrews 11 the writer has been talking aboutfaith. He goes through a list of the great men and womenof faith who have gone before. These people have runtheir races and have proved that God is faithful andreliable. They are encouraging us through their exampleand perseverance.
  4. 4. It‘s great to receive encouragement and you cansee in a race how the runners are encouraged by alot of people cheering for them.In Hebrews 10:24-25 it says; ―And let us considerhow we may spur one another on toward loveand good deeds. Let us not give up meetingtogether, as some are in the habit of doing, but letus encourage one another—and all the more asyou see the Day approaching.‖
  5. 5. There are a number of ways we can giveencouragement through our church community;• Sending a letter or an e-mail• A gift/flowers with a note• Offering to pray for people and seeking God for anencouraging bible verse to give.• Offering to help someone practically.• Visiting the sick or infirm.• Remembering to phone people up and ask them howit went after an exam, interview, hospital appointmentetc.• Offering lifts to people who don‘t have cars.• Offering babysitting to a stressed couple who need abreak and some ‗child free time‘
  6. 6. I‘m sure you can think of many more. Theimportant thing is that we ‗consider‘ what we doand people really respond to anencouragement. The old adage ‗It‘s the thoughtthat counts‘ can be very true and this can makeall the difference.
  7. 7. (2) Getting rid of hindrancesEven though it may be cold or pouring with rain, you willnot see any runners with overcoats. They don‘t wantanything holding them back.The verse mentions ‘everything that hinders’ and the‘Sin that easily entangles’.The obvious sins are easy to identify, but what about thethings that hinder. They may not even be particular sinsbut they can be things that can perhaps waste our timeand stop us running effectively. There are many thingsthat can throw us off course but a few that came to mindare listed next;
  8. 8. Habits – Not necessarily wrong in themselves butcan take up all our time. Things such as computergames, too much TV, a hobby that takes all yourtime. A verse in the bible to consider is 1Corinthians 10 v 23 where it says; ―I have the rightto do anything,‖ you say—but not everything isbeneficial. ―I have the right to do anything‖—but noteverything is constructive.‖ We are free to do thesethings but we need to use wisdom
  9. 9. Legalism – It‘s actually harder work trying tofollow rules and regulations. We sometimes defaultto trying to earn our salvation through good worksbut this never works. The bible says in Galatians 5v 1 ―It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves beburdened again by a yoke of slavery.‖ Don‘t striveby trying to earn your approval it‘s already beenwon by Jesus, you could never do it yourselfanyway! To use the running analogy it‘s likerunning in circles.
  10. 10. Antinomianism – (Big word alert!!) This is theopposite to legalism, sometimes called licence.This is the belief, wrongly taken, from the bible thatbecause we are no longer ‗under‘ the law orsubject to it, then we can sin or do whatever welike. But the apostle Paul addresses this veryclearly in his gospel to the Romans (chapter 6 v 1-2) ―What shall we say, then? Shall we go onsinning so that grace may increase? By no means!We are those who have died to sin; how can welive in it any longer?‖ If legalism is running incircles then this is like running in the wrongdirection!
  11. 11. If we have a correct understanding of grace andwhat God has freely given us, we will be able torun between these two false doctrines and theywont trip us up. This passage talks about ‗Therace marked out for us‘ To use the example of adifferent style of running it is a lot like running inlanes on a running track.
  12. 12. Passivity – It takes effort to run a long race, do welook for the easy option? Pressing that snoozebutton in the morning when we could be spendingtime with our heavenly father, or missing out on theSunday evening prayer meeting because we need toprepare for Monday morning. It‘s helpful toremember those pictures of us fighting in a war. Theapostle Paul again had the right idea. Writing in 1Corinthians 9 v 26-27 he said; “Therefore I do notrun like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like aman beating the air. No, I beat my body and make itmy slave so that after I have preached to others, Imyself will not be disqualified for the prize.‖ Thatdoesn‘t sound very passive does it?
  13. 13. Fear – This can be one of the biggesthindrances to running well. For a runner it wouldbe like running with a limp. Fear can stop us fromdoing just what God has told us to do and whenwe don‘t do as He says we become ineffective.We need to step out and believe God and believewhat He says. Don‘t be afraid of what others maythink.
  14. 14. (3) Running with perseveranceIf you‘re not tired and your muscles don‘t ache,you may not even be running the race at all.Running the Christian race is not easy, it takesdetermination and perseverance to run the raceright through to the very end.Many of the runners you will see in a race looksuper fit, this is because they have trained. Theyhave put in the hours and pounded the streets dayafter day. How are we to run with perseverance inthe race that we run?
  15. 15. Dying to self daily - Jesus said to His disciples:"If anyone would come after me, he must denyhimself and take up his cross daily and follow me.‖(Luke 9v23) That means we don‘t do things ourown way but we are surrendered to God‘s will. Thisis a constant battle. Even Jesus struggled with thisin the garden of Gethsemane when he asked if thecup could be taken from him, but he knew in theend it was not His will but the Fathers that hewanted to do.
  16. 16. When you train for a race, you don‘t just have alittle run occasionally. It requires discipline. As Imsure you are aware, Christianity is principallyabout being in a relationship, we have arelationship with the best personal trainer whoruns every step with us and has also gone beforeus and we also have the best training manual(The bible) with full guidance on how to run therace. The Holy Spirit empowers us better thanany performance enhancing drug (like takingsupplements legally!)
  17. 17. Following a perfect example – Jesus is ourexample. We follow the one who ran the perfectrace. He is our pace setter. In the very next versein Hebrews it tells us to ‗consider him‘. We willnot lose our way if we follow him. God has called us to a unique race- God hasmade you for a purpose. You are unique. No-oneon this earth is better qualified to do the job youhave been given than you. We are not called todo other peoples jobs for them. Don‘t be jealousof what other people do (Don‘t try to runsomebody elses race). Seek God for His will foryour life and do it to the best of your ability
  18. 18. We don’t run the race on our own – wecomplement each other. In 1 Corinthians 12 it talksabout the church all being members of one body.We cannot work independently, just as a bodycannot function without the other parts. You maybe an ear, a big toe or a wrist but we all need towork together. Some runners run in teams andthey need each other. In some team races youwon‘t win if you don‘t all cross the line.
  19. 19. Keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit - Weneed the Holy Spirit all the time. We would noteven be Christians without the Holy Spirit, andwe need Him to fill us regularly or we will run outof energy. Thinking about the analogy of therace, it‘s like running without topping up atregular water stations. The effect of lack of wateris dehydration. I looked up on a runners websitewhat the effects would be, see the next slide;
  20. 20. ―How much water you drink affects not only thequality of your run, but also how far you go.Exercise-induced dehydration reducesendurance, increases body temperature, heartrate, and your perceived exertion, making yourregular run seem much harder than usual. Evenslight dehydration reduces endurance andperformance, and all effects are exaggerated inhot weather. A recent review of the researchshowed that individuals who drank water beforeand during exercise, work out longer. Continuingto run when dehydrated can lead to heat strokeand death‖ (Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 1999, Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 164-172)
  21. 21. His divine power has given us everything we need forlife and godliness. (2 peter 1 v 3)Look to the prize – And what a prize. The biblerecords numerous blessings to look forward to. We getto spend eternity with our saviour with the absence ofsadness and pain in front of a huge banquet. There aremany verses that can give us motivation but I havepicked out two;"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, Ihave kept the faith.Now there is in store for me thecrown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteousJudge, will award to me on that day—and not only tome, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."(2 Timothy 4 v 7-8)
  22. 22. "Not that I have already obtained all this, or havealready been made perfect, but I press on to takehold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have takenhold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what isbehind and straining toward what is ahead, I press ontoward the goal to win the prize for which God hascalled me heavenward in Christ Jesus."(Philippians 3 v 12-14)The next time you watch or even compete in amarathon, as you watch the runners go by, rememberthat you too are in a race and it is one that is worthrunning for, right through the finish line.

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