Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 2
Hey, everyone. I am so grateful you've joined me today. I know you've not tuned in by accident, that this is the divine timing, plan, and purpose of God for your life. You've jumped into a series that I am loving and you're loving it as well all about running the race that God has put us on this earth to run. The apostle Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians 9:24 to 27, he says in a race everyone runs but God wants us to run to win. And we have been learning the race we are running here on earth is not some kind of sprint but it's a marathon. And so we have to approach our life here on earth like a marathon because if you just want to sprint and I think everything in society is geared to make us think, come on, you've got to be a shooting star, you've got to be an overnight success. And it actually sets us up for failure.
We wonder why we run out of steam because in life challenges come. In life, obstacles come. In life, hurdles come. In life disappointments come, betrayals come, failures come, mistakes come. That's all part of this thing called life. And our faith in Jesus doesn't exempt us from life but Jesus in us, the hope of glory, the Spirit of God that lives on the inside of uses can help us to overcome any obstacle, any hurdle, to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. He is with us in the midst of our trials. He's with us in the midst our pain. He will bring us through to the other side. He gives us the strength to be able to run our race and finish our course.
But if we do not have a mindset that says man, this is not just a momentary sprint, then we're gonna be very disappointed in life because the fact of the matter is if we spend all our life comparing ourselves with somebody else's life or we spend our life at 20 regretting or just lamenting the fact we're not where we're going to be at 80, we are not going to live the life God has put us on this earth to live. God has put us on this earth to run our race and to finish our course. Not somebody else's race but our race. Not somebody else's course but our course. And there is grace for our race. There is a pace for our race. And we've been looking at how in the natural a marathon runner presents for a marathon and how do they prepare for a marathon race? Because they don't just turn up and go hey, I'm going to run a marathon today. There are very few people that do that.
Most of the marathon runners have a lot of preparation time before they ever ever take that starting line. So the first thing we learn was they have a vision for the whole race. They expect they will be tired. They expect there will be challenges and obstacles. They see the race before it ever happens. And today I want us to have kind of like a vision shift from where we think or life is a sprint and then we get frustrated because we don't become overnight successes and we begin to understand it's a marathon that God is working out our life over the course of our life, that we walk in alignment of our purpose and destiny, but it will take all our life to run our race and finish our course. So we have to have a vision that the fact is I'm in this, I'm following Jesus, and it's for all of my life until I step into eternity. It doesn't end anywhere this side of planet earth. And then we've got to be committed to the preparation. And that commitment is very very important.
And I think if we don't understand following Jesus is not just kind of like some sort of thing that we just think, you know what? It sounds really good. I'm gonna follow this God because he's just gonna give me a better life and an easy life. You're not going to find that anywhere in scripture. Jesus in fact gives us a great challenge. And the ultimate scripture obviously on discipleship in the book of Mark, Jesus says unless we are willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow him, then we will not be able to fulfill our purpose or our destiny. There is a commitment. So we have to be committed to the preparation process that it takes to build the strength and build the courage and to build the tenacity and the character and the resilience that it's going to take to run our race and finish our course.
I want to go to a scripture in 1 kings chapter 19 verse 21. I want you to have a look at this. And it's right at the point when Elisha is called. So the Bible says, and we're looking at Elijah and he is gonna now go and find Elisha. In verse 19, it says... So the Bible says that Elijah arose. In another translation, we read he followed Elijah and became his servant. Can you even believe that? Instead of simply taking Elijah's mantle and saying you're done now, the Bible says Elisha had a preparation time and that preparation time lasted years. In fact, he had to burn everything. He burned his plows, everything. There was no turning back. There was no plan b. There was no back door. Just in case this doesn't work I'm gonna do that. He was all in. And Jesus calls us to an all in Christianity. So during the years that Elisha followed Elijah, he simply served. And in that time God was preparing him the whole time for what he had prepared for him. But even Elisha the prophet could not bypass the preparation process. None of us can, so this man that Elisha was at the right place at the right time when promotion time came.
You see, it wasn't until 2 kings chapter 13 verse 15 that we see that Elijah gave his mantle to Elisha. The Bible actually says that he took his mantle off Elijah that had fallen from him. So if Elisha had not spent all of those years in preparation serving Elijah, he would not have had the strength or the forward attitude or the courage to be who he needed to be, to do what God needed him to do. So what happens is many of us we want the mantle without the servant preparation time. And that is why we haven't stepped into the fullness of our calling. It's in that preparation time that we build muscle and strength that we are going to need to do what God's called us to do. See, what you do in your preparation time will determine your destiny. The degree of your commitment to preparation will determine how much of your race you run and finish.
Now, I go way back. If I did not serve in our local community youth center, a local youth center way back in 1990, then I would not have built the necessary muscle and character and skills I needed to be appointed the director of youth alive in new south wells, our denomination state youth movement. Well, if I didn't do that for 7 years going out to country towns all around Australia, speaking to youth ministries with 20 young people or 15 young people and speaking in schools for session after session after session, then I would not have built the muscle, the character, the strength to be able to do what I'm doing today. I would never have been prepared to be able to oversee a 21 and found a global anti trafficking organization if I hadn't built the skills and the muscles building a local community based youth center.
If I hadn't built the skills of preaching and teaching and studying and preparing and learning when I had 20 kids in a youth group, I wouldn't be doing propel women all over the world today or I wouldn't have a television teaching ministry. I look back now and I think every single stage of the preparation process was necessary for me to run to the next leg of my course. I didn't even know what God had fear me but at all times God was preparing me for the things he had prepared for me. He was teaching me how to overcome discouragement how to overcome disappointment, and disillusionment, how to get through betrayal and failures and mistakes and get back up and keep trusting him, how to find his presence in the midst of suffering and pain and hurting and grief. Every part of the process was a preparation for the next part so don't get sucked into the spirit of this age which makes us think that somehow a well-curated post on a social media thing will in anyway have the same value as a preparation process in anonymity and obscurity with Jesus.
We are not going to despair when we get to a place of obstacles or challenges or trials or sufferings. We're going to trust that the same God that was with us in the fun part of the main on this race is the same God that's with us in the difficult part of the marathon race that's the same God that's gonna get us through this part into the next season of the marathon race. I want you to know that your God is with you in all of the race. He never leaves you. He never forsakes you. He's with you in every aspect of the race. You know, again in all of this research about marathon runners that I did, I discovered that a marathon runner endures discomfort or pain. Do not turn the TV off because I want you to know that is one of the qualities of how marathon runners actually prepare and run the race is before them.
My Canadian friend Mike, the mire on this runner, he says that he puts up with aching joints, sore muscles and really powerful cramps and sore feet and a sore back. Why? Because he's so motivated to finishing the race. He said, I remember he said to me Chris, it's just a part of running in the marathon. If you want to finish the race, you have to press past the pain barrier. You have to go beyond the inevitable wall that you're going to hit and endure the discomfort. It's just the way it is. I remember he just said Christine, it's just the way that it is, and I'm like I knew there was a reason I don't run marathons. But to reach the goal of finishing the 26.3 miles and experience the thrill of crossing that finish line, you've got to pay the price of pain and discomfort.
Now, remember in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 verse 27, 1 Corinthians chapter 9. He goes ... I discipline my body. Man, I discipline my body. So what happened was Paul endured discomfort. Discipline is a great discomfort at times. It means I'm just not going ago and do whatever I want to do because I don't want to preach to others and then find myself disqualified from the prize. So that means I'm going to endure discomfort and discipline my body. You know, Jesus himself the Bible says endures incredible pain so you and I can run our race and finish our course.
I love in the book of Hebrews chapter 12, of course the writer to the Hebrews is writing about being surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses. And the writer to the Hebrews goes on. He says this... And here is how... So Jesus endured the cross and endured the pain and endured the discomfort. It's interesting to me if you saw the passion of the Christ, you saw the brutal brutal pain, but what Jesus did was Jesus saw beyond the pain to the eternal life that you and I would have access to. If Jesus had to endure pain, I wonder why we would ever think as his followers we would not have to. We're following Jesus. Christianity is not built on the pillars of comfort and convenience. The truth is to run our race and finish our course there will be times of pain, there will be times of discomfort, there will be times of suffering.
The key is we have to determine to endure whatever season we are in so we can keep running our race and finish our course. I wish I could tell you that life was just going to be a fun benefited roses, but it's not. Life is tough. Life is hard. There are challenges. There are obstacles and hurdles and disappointments and betrayals. There is discouragement and disillusionment. There are so many things that make us want to quit, but we are in a fight of faith. We are running a race. It's a marathon and not a sprint. So we will have need of endurance and the way we endure is by fixing our eyes on Jesus. By being willing, by being willing to embrace some discomfort, by being willing to embrace some of the pain and going, you know what? This is just how it is.
My friend Mike said Chris, if I want to run a marathon, I'm just gonna have some aching joints or sore muscles. It is not always going to be great. Listen, if a marathon runner or a bike rider or any athlete in any sport, if they are willing to endure physical discomforts so they can finish their race or kick a goal or finish their course, why would we think in an eternal spiritual battle there would not be a fight? There would not be discomfort? There would not be loss or grief or pain or suffering? It's part of the human condition. The testimony of the Christian is that Jesus Christ through the power of his Holy Spirit gives us strength in the midst of trials and sufferings. He promises to be with us in it. He promises to get us through it so we've got to be willing to say, you know what? Christ in me, the hope of glory, the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives is on the inside of me. Therefore I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. I can do hard things because I have the Spirit of God on the inside of me that's going to give me the strength to get through this.
We also have to remember that a marathon runner maintains their daily disciplines. This is a huge one. Day in and day out, marathon runners they're just disciplined people. Have you ever seen an undisciplined marathon runner? They train whatever the weather conditions are. It was pouring rain near my house a few weeks ago, and I'm driving. I did not even want to be in the car there was so much wind, there was so much rain, and I'm driving and I'm seeing a whole pack of runners do their prep out in the rain. I'm thinking I don't even want to be in the comfort of my car in these weather conditions, and yet they are running. So whatever else they have going on in their day, whatever the weather conditions are, marathon runners are committed to their training and they prioritize their daily disciplines. That's it.
My friend Mike he lives is in Alberta, Canada. Of course he's becoming the object lesson for our whole sermon series, and during their freezing winter... Ave you seen Alberta, Canada during the freezing winter? I come from Australia and I love the heat. And Alberta, Canada, that kind of snow, that kind of freezing winter that does not thrill me. But my friend Mike would get up and he'd literally leave his house for his run at 3: 30 am because he needed to fit in a 2 and a half hour run before work because he still had to work, he still had to be a dad, he still had to fulfill all of this commitment. Imagine in the freezing cold, Alberta, Canada snow going for a two and a half hour run at 3:30 in the morning. I know what I've just done now is confirm for many of you that you will never be running a marathon in your whole life. But you know what, in our spiritual lives sometimes it's just like that.
Sometimes I'm telling you it's just like I'm getting up at 3: 30 because I've got to press through and there are some disciplines that I have to do. That to me is discipline. Mike said that what he does off the track determines how well he does in the race. I don't want you to miss that. What he does off the track behind the scenes determines how well he's going to go in the race. He's extremely conscious of what he eats, what he drinks, how long he sleeps for, the kind of things he's listening to, the kinds of things that he watches. It all matters. I remember him saying Chris, every bit of it matters because it all impacts my performance. Can you imagine if you and I took more seriously every bit of input that we took in, if we said, you know what? This impacts my spiritual performance.
I want to be on my a game for Jesus. So I am going to think about things, whatever is pure, noble, whatever is of a good report I'm going to think about those things. I'm going to allow my words to be edifying and encouraging and speak life to people. I'm going to be very careful about what kind of influence I have, what kind of social media inputs I have, what kind of media inputs I have. I'm really going to be careful about the things that I think about and the things that I listen to. I'm going to be careful about what I put in my spirit, and I want things that are going to build up my faith. The apostle Paul says build yourself up in your most holy faith. Sometimes we don't even think about what we're thinking about or watching or listening to, and so much of the spiritual vitality in our life could rapidly increase and go up a few notches if we just thought about the things we think about, the things we talk about and listen to, the things that we watch.
And make a decision I'm going to fill myself with things that are going to build me up in my inner man because everything behind the scenes impacts how I run my race and how I finish my course. It impacts my mood. It impacts how I show up. It impacts how I show up at work, how I show up for my family and to the world around me, and I want to be a woman of God that produces the fruit of Spirit of God. I want to be full of love and joy and peace and long suffering and patience, I want to be full of self-control, I want to be full of goodness and kindness, so what I put in determines what comes out so I need to think about what I'm thinking about. I need to think about what I'm listening to. I need to think about what I'm talking about so I can produce the Fruit of the Spirit of God when I show up for this race every day of my life.