The Race of Life – Part 1

The Race of Life – Part 1

Introduction

  • The Christian life is like running a race: not a sprint but a marathon race – do you have any experiences as a runner??
  • We are either already runners in the race or seriously considering joining Jesus’ team – this message for both
  • Key question: How are we to run so that we run well and finish the race?

3 instructions from our Trainer, Jesus

  • Run with perseverance:
    • Perseverance is the most important mindset for a marathon runner – the most important part of his race isn’t how strong his legs or body are (though these are very important!) – it is how strong he is in his mind, i.e. what he is thinking as he runs – positive thoughts will help him keep persevering even when it hurts! 
    • Our Trainer calls us to persevere / to keep going in the Christian race – to keep persevering when we have our “down” feelings – never to give in to the cry of our flesh: “Stop!  It’s too hard!  I can’t keep going!”
    • How sad it is to witness a believer (e.g. a good friend) choosing to go back from following Jesus because it’s all too hard or there’s too much suffering involved (cf. Mark 4:16-17) – they will lose out forever
  • Train daily in order to stay fit:
    • A marathon runner needs to discipline himself and train regularly for many months before his race
    • A believer needs to discipline himself/herself to engage in spiritual exercises – see 1 Tim.4:7-8; 1 Cor.9:24-27
    • Accept the disciplines of our Trainer/Coach:
      • Eat healthy spiritual food – healthy diet of God’s Word – “Eat the Book” (title of a book by Dr. Eugene Peterson)
      • Put the Trainer’s instructions into practice – a trainer expects his runner to listen to and follow his advice for the race
      • Be regular at the training sessions – church services and small group meetings are our “training sessions” for running life’s race – we will develop very bad running habits as a Christian and become a spiritually lazy Christian if we don’t attend our church’s equipping or training sessions regularly
  • Expect the race to be tough:
    • A marathon runner doesn’t choose to run marathon races because they are a lot of fun – the truth is that a marathon race is painful and very hard on the body
    • We must get rid of any wrong ideas about the Christian race, e.g. “when you follow Jesus, it’s such a wonderful life; everything is great; our problems are all gone!” – that is a total lie
    • The Word of God teaches us that the race is tough, and at times really rough – see 2 Tim.2:3; 2 Cor.4:8-10; 1 Peter 4:12-13
    • So clothe your mind with a readiness to face the tough challenges and not give up – including:
      • Internal struggles, i.e. some very real heartaches, e.g. the loss of friends because we have turned to Jesus
      • External struggles, i.e. the calls from family and friends to quit; the attacks from our enemies against the Christian faith; jeers and ridicule from the crowd

Closing

  • Our personal challenge: run this week the race of life with perseverance
  • Keep meditating on these truths – also look for opportunities to encourage each other in the race

 

Rev. Graham M. Roberts

St. John’s Anglican Church, Parramatta – Persian Service

3rd July, 2011

 

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