If you remember from last month, the Apostle Paul said that we as Christians have a "race" to run.
So, this month I want to finish what I started and teach you how to run your race to finish and win.
Well, to finish and win, you have to first show-up and qualify for the race. You must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is that good news about Jesus, which is proclaimed or preached. The word Christ refers both to Jesus the Anointed One and the anointing that He is anointed with. So you have to show up and hear the good news about what Jesus has done for you.
To qualify, you must also receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. But what does that mean? The word Lord in the Hebrew language means Eternal God. In the Greek language it includes: king, supreme authority, God, master, Savior: one that saves, frees, avenges, defends, delivers, preserves, rescues and provides salvation.
The idea of salvation in the Hebrew language includes liberty, safety, deliverance and prosperity and in the Greek includes rescue, safety, deliverance and health.
Therefore, to qualify you must receive Jesus as your personal God and King as well as the one who saved you, delivered you, healed you, defends and preserves you.
In order to finish and win, you must be a participant and not just a spectator. You must report to the starter out on the track.
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, both starter and finisher because Jesus knows the beginning from the end, and because He IS the beginning and the end.
He was there "In the beginning" and He will be there at the end. His plans for YOU began back at the foundation of the world!
So, you cannot go sit in the bleachers after you get saved. Paul says that as a Christian, you are to RUN the race and that you must participate to win the prize.
To finish and win, you must be built up and properly equipped. First, you need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Next, you need to know what the Bible says.
There is a difference between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance: People parish for lack of knowledge. Not knowing is ignorance. But stupidity: Lack of intelligence. Knowing but not doing is just stupid!
To finish and win, you need to be discipled to know what God expects from you and to learn Gods vision for you.
To finish and win, you have to start the race. Heb. 12:1 says that there is a race set before us that we are to run. You have to move forward and keep moving forward.
But how do you run the race to finish and win? 1 Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that ye may obtain (the prize).
Refuse to be distracted. 1 Pet. 4:4 They think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.
Refuse to be delayed. Heb. 12:1 Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Refuse to be detoured. Gal. 5:7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? Heb. 12:1 Let us run with patience the race that is set before us.
Never forget that others are watching. Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses. . .
The Greek word for "race" is stadion, which is where we got the word stadium. Paul uses this word tells us that running the race of faith puts us right in the middle of the arena where people see our faith walk, see our struggles, and watch to see if we will win our battles.
We must always keep in mind that this is not a private race that we are running, but a race that can influence many other people's lives. Therefore we need to run our race so that it encourages all those who are watching from the sidelines to get into the race!
In order to finish and win, you cannot weary, faint or quit. Isa. 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. 2 Thes. 3:13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. Gal. 6:9 In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
To win the race, you have to finish the race. The winners of the Olympic competitions were rewarded both materially and with great honor. The winners of these events became revered as heroes, gods, or icons in their society. Respect, honor, notoriety and fame became their lifelong reward.
But this life is no game; it is the most serious competition we will ever face in this world. The rewards are enormous. God materially rewards us as we are faithful to His call, but He also reserves eternal rewards of honor and glory for those of us who run our race well in this life (Romans 2:10).
Obtaining the prize. You see, racers and runners have one thought foremost in their minds - the finish line! With this analogy in mind, Paul tells you to run your spiritual race with all your might, keeping your focus on the goal of the divine calling of your life as God has revealed it to you. You may ask, "How long am I supposed to keep running and trying to reach my God-given goals?" The answer is until you "obtain" what God called you to do! Heb. 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the finisher of our faith. 2 Tim. 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Conclusion. Your attitude must be, "I'm going to run this race, and I'm going to finish it and I'm going to obtain the prize! I'm not going to live my whole life missing out on what God has for me! I'm not going to settle for just being average. No matter what inconvenience I endure, no matter what price I have to pay, or what adjustments I have to make, I am going to faithfully run my race so that one day I can obtain the prize!