The Apostle Paul says that we as Christians are in a "race."
1 Cor. 9:24-10:5 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? So, run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers (the house of Israel, between 2 and 4 million of them, led by Moses) were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and all drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; and (at least 1.2 million of) their dead bodies were scattered all over the desert. (i. e. They did not finish their race.)
Our goal as believers should be to find out God's plan for our life and then go after it with all of our might and all of our strength.
Unfortunately, most Christians have never even figured out that God has a race for them to run! Too many have been led to believe that when they accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, that they just crossed the finish line and that their race was completed. So what do they do? They go sit in the bleachers and become spectators instead of participants never even starting their race. Most do not understand that when they got saved, they just qualified to run in the Olympics and that they are supposed to be out there on the track.
Most, if not all of you have started your race. God wants me to encourage you to "Keep Moving Forward." He knew all the stuff that would happen between then and now to stop you.
But some of you have barely gotten started and have already grown weary and a few of you have already quit.
No, you haven't renounced Jesus, that's not what we are talking about. But maybe you have stopped growing. Maybe you have stopped running.
You ran off of the track and sat down in the bleachers. You thought that it was OK because you looked around at your fellow Christians and saw that you have caught up to their spiritual level or maybe even perceived that you had passed them up a little.
What typically happens is this. When people take their eyes off of the goal and begin focusing on their peers, the other runners, they begin to slow down and eventually come to a complete stop. What started as a run for their lives becomes a social gathering in the infield.
The typical logic is that the runner catches up to folks that have been at this longer than he has. He feels as if he has made it; like he finally fits in, part of the group and comfortable. And that's great except that most of these folks that you are looking at are "average."
Most people never really succeed because they are satisfied with being average. Most were average students, they have average jobs and live average lives. Throughout their lives everything they have ever accomplished has been graded on the curve compared to other average people.
God does not grade on a curve. He has provided one and only one rock-solid standard by which we will be judged and that standard is by no means "average." His name is Jesus! Statistically less than 3% of the population is considered to be truly successful.
Jesus had thousands of people following Him, listening to Him and believing His teachings. But only a hundred and twenty actually showed up to receive His Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Based just upon the 5000 that He fed, 120 is less than 3% of that number.
The average Christian, gets saved, and goes to church when they feel like it. They love God but don't know God or understand God. They don't know how to pray. They don't know they have an inheritance. They don't know thy have any authority, much less how to act upon that authority. And they are not living in the fullness of what Jesus purchased for them.
As a result, they don't get healed or delivered. They don't get baptized in the Holy Spirit or operate in any of the gifts. The average Christian spends more money on dog food than they give to spread the gospel or further the Kingdom of God. And the average Christian does not get involved in any ministry or ongoing church outreach, job or project.
When you started this race, what was your goal? Was your goal to become average - or was it to become like Jesus?
Was your goal wholeness - which included salvation, healing, deliverance and much more?
Yes you are saved! But have you received your total healing in body, soul, spirit, mind, will, emotions, heart, words and works?
What about deliverance? Are there any addictions, compulsions or bad habits still yet to be fully overcome? What about all of your old hurts and persistent fears?
Yes your spirit has been renewed, but IS your spirit in total control of your mind will and emotions?
How about your behavior? Are you walking and talking like Jesus would? Does your behavior under pressure reflect and represent Jesus?
Yes, I know that you have made a lot of improvements, but have you fully reached your goal?
I think that you will agree that too many Christians have settled with just being average and that it is time for Christians everywhere to get up out of the bleachers, get out onto the track and start running their race to win. Jesus is coming soon and time is getting short.
Continue to Part 2 ...
In Part 2 of "Running the Race of your Life", I will share with you "How To Run Your Race To Finish And Win.