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Run Your Race: Endurance part 1
– A common theme for me this year has been Endurance.
– Like running a marathon, life is very long, lots of mini adventures, at some point you look up like, “Are we still doing this?” “I’m ready for something different.”
– At mile 20 you’re like, “I’m done”, but you are six miles away from where you parked the car! (Your family is waiting for you on the course somewhere, to cheer you on, and you haven’t even seen them yet!)
– Your life is a marathon, not a sprint.
– Read scripture, Hebrews 12:1-4
– “Huge crowd of Witnesses to the life of faith…”
– In context, the general sense, those who are faithful followers of God.
– Hebrews Chapter 11, Lists who these specific witnesses are. “It was by faith that…”
– By faith, Noah built the large boat to save his family from the flood.
– By faith, Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.
– By faith, Sarah was able to have a child at 90 years old.
– By faith, Moses led the people out of Egypt.
– By faith, Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel, and all the prophets…
– 2 kinds of witnesses described in chapter 11:
– 1. Hebrews 11:33-35a (the victorious)
– 2. Hebrews 11:35b-37 (the tortured)
– These tortured witnesses never saw the complete fulfillment of God’s promise, yet they still had amazing faith. (Faith in the Promiser, not in the promise.)
– “Strip off Every weight, especially sin…”
– Example: Fighting wildland fire in bunker gear. Take off the gear that slows you down.
– So not JUST sin slowing us down, but other “weight”. Distractions, idols, and misaligned priorities. Things that restrict us from moving by faith.
– “Run the race that GOD has set before us…”
– In Greek literature, “a race” is metaphor for the need to have endurance in life.
– Your life is different. Your race is different. Run the race that God has set before YOU! Not someone else’s!
- Run your race.
– Life is not a competition. (For you to win, someone else doesn’t have to lose.)
– The goal of this race is not to beat the other runners. It is to do your best.
– Whose race are you running?
– Example: Swim race when goggles fell off diving in, swam one length and hopped out…
– The coach asked me why I didn’t finish the race and get the points for our team?
– I was the fastest, and could have won, but not swim my best time. I was only thinking of ME! Not about the team. (I wanted a “redo” but that isn’t how it works.)
* I quit because I didn’t think I could do my best, but by quitting I ensured that I couldn’t.
* My “best” would have been to fix my goggles, and swim my heart out and try to win the race anyways. I did the opposite of my best by not being willing to try.
– We are all running at the same time, but we are not running the same race.
– Don’t look around and compare your progress to others, or compare results.
– Don’t look for the loop-holes, or try to cheat to finish faster.
– The victory comes in how you run, and endure, not how fast you finish. Be honest with yourself! (You want the prize GOD has for you!)
– Run with FAITH! God put you in charge of that mission. God chose you for that race. Do it in boldness, and with everything you’ve got, because God has ordained it.
– It doesn’t matter how other people react to it. It doesn’t matter how others feel about it, because you know you are honoring God, and that you are doing what He has called you to do.
– 1 Peter 4:11, Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (Your race should bring glory to God.)
- Keep your eyes on Jesus.
– Jesus has done everything we could ever need to have perfect faith in him!
– Think of all he has done: Sinless life, many miracles, death and resurrection, declared himself as Lord, fulfilled all prophecy, delivered to us the new covenant…
– 2 Peter 1:3, By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
– Isaiah 26:3, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Your peace during this race will come from keeping your eyes and thoughts fixed on Jesus!)
- So you won’t become weary.
– Those receiving this word in Hebrews have become weary, and ready to give up, from the emotional fatigue of persecution.
– The author reminds us that Jesus is our example of endurance in this race:
– Jesus endured the cross, and hostility from man. Crucifixion was the most shameful form of execution. Humiliating and torturous. Our punishment on display.
– This is absolutely the worst life had to offer, and Jesus focused on the JOY awaiting him!
– It’s easier when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel:
– Example: amazing race, long straight tunnel, ran whole thing there and back…
– Snoqualmie Tunnel: “It’s prudent to remember that the tunnel is 2.3 miles long, so while the light may seem promising, the end of your hike is still a long ways off.”
– Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
– NIV says, “he will make your paths straight.” (Like the tunnel was straight so I could see the light at the other end, even over 2 miles away. One curve in that tunnel and all I would have seen was darkness, and I would have been afraid to go through it.)
– Like Jesus, we as believers can see the light at the end of this dark tunnel called “life”.(Heaven)
– Hebrews 12:4, you have not yet given YOUR life in this struggle… (This speaks directly to us.)
– Jesus gave his best, and he is always our example.
– YOU ARE EITHER DOING YOUR BEST, OR YOU’RE NOT!
– What someone else is doing should neither motivate you nor discourage you.
– Your race is run for an audience of one, GOD.
– YOU know, and GOD knows if you are really giving it you best, or just giving “100% of the minimum”.
– God has given you a measure of faith. Use what he has given you. If he gave you a mission, he will also give you the strength and tools to complete it.
– Col. 3:23-24, 23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. 24 Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.
– The Apostle Paul said, in Ephesians, “Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”
* Run YOUR race with endurance! The one God has set before YOU! – prayer –