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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Christine Caine » Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 4

Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 4

Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 4
Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 4
TOPICS: Run To Win, Persistence

Hey, everyone. I am so grateful that you've joined us today and I know that God has a word for you. You have dived in during one of my favorite series ever that we have done, and we're talking about running this race that God has put us on this earth to run. The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, he talks about the fact that we have got a race to run and that we need to run this race with conviction. We need to run it with discipline, and it's a spiritual race that I'm talking about. Now, we're using a lot of analogies from marathon runners in the natural. I wish I could tell you I was a marathon runner but I'm not but I have plenty of friends that are marathon runners, and I've done a lot of research on marathon runners because I wanted to know what is the difference between a marathon runner and somebody that runs sprints because our life is not like a sprint.

I know everything in life is geared to make us think that our life is just a sprint. I mean, we just think everyone's going to be an overnight success. I just need to be discovered. I just need to get there as if there is sort of some kind of destination, but what we want to do is run this race that God has called us to run. And that lasts for the term of all of our life here on this earth. The goal of that race is that we're being conformed and transformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, the goal of that race is also that we accomplish what he left us here to do. That is to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. So our job is to be conformed to his will and to do his will. It's going to take the course of all of our life to do that. So we're going to have to have the mind set of a marathon runner. Not a sprinter.

If we have the mind set of a sprinter we're not going to make it to the end and let me just say in this thing called life, there are a lot of challenges, a lot of obstacles and hurdles. We come across different times and seasons of our life where we feel like we've been betrayed, where relationships have been strained, where we ourselves make mistakes or we ourselves have failed in some capacity. And we all need the grace and mercy of God. We all need the love and encouragement of God so we can get back up and run our race and finish our course. To have a short-term approach to it you're never going to finish because disappointment will take you out. Discouragement will take you out. Disillusionment will take you out but if you have a long term approach, this is not a sprint, this is a marathon, then you are going to be able to go through the ebbs and flows of seasons understanding the same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you and he equips and empowers you to run the race at your pace.

There is a grace for your race, there is a pace for your race. This is not a time where we look around and we compare ourselves among ourselves. We're not competing against anybody else. We are here to run our race and we are here to finish our course. And I said finish our course because what we do in life is we see a lot of people start strong in so many different spheres of life. But not many people finish strong. We see some marriages start strong but they certainly don't finish strong. We see relationships and friendships start strong but they don't finish strong. We perhaps start a course in some area and we started it but we never finish it. In so many other areas of our life, we start out in a career and we start but we never finish and we see even in the Christian life people start following Jesus with a passion but somewhere along the line they drop out or they quit or they turn back or it's just too hard, and they just begin to coast.

I want to tell you that a marathon runner is determined to never ever ever give up. You see, inevitably in life difficulties will come. There are obstacles that are going to come for you and for me that are going to block our path. There are pitfalls that are there on all sides of life, surprise attacks will threaten to put us out of the race, but we must determine to never give up and to never give in. Jesus himself says that in this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer he says, I have overcome the world, in John 16: 33. Don't you love that? Jesus says be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Over the past few years we've had unprecedented trials. We've had so much pain, so much suffering, so much loss, so much grief, so much heartache. There's been so much disappointment for so many. There's no doubt it has impacted every single sphere of life, but we must choose ahead of time that we will never give up no matter what happens. You know, there are 2 great examples from modern day Olympic events and we started with the Olympic games and we started with the fact that the marathon race was actually brought into the Olympic games to commemorate Pheidippides running after they run the battle of marathon in Greece, he came to Athens to tell everyone, we won! We won the race! And we started with the Olympic events, and I want to carry that through because in 2 of the modern Olympic games, there are 2 things that so deeply have touched my life I wanted to share it with you.

The first one is the Brazilian marathon runner in 2004. So at the Athenian 2004 Olympics, Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil was leading the race. He was out front. He was running strongly. There was only 3 miles to go so think how far he had come, and suddenly, and I guess if you can remember back to this you will remember this, suddenly a crazed man burst on the track, forcefully grabbed de Lima, pulled him into the crowd, and the security eventually pulled him away, and a shaken de Lima who had already run 20 miles, it was 3 miles left, he returned to the race. Now, by then he had lost his lead to Italy's Baldini and as I pressed onto the goal, he was passed by one other runner, so he finished third winning the bronze medal and never had a third place winner in the history of the Olympic games been given such an ovation.

You see, everyone knew that de Lima was a winner because he had not given up. You know, you might feel like someone came out of the crowd and pushed you out, and you were running and you had been in your flow and things were going great, and you're like but Christine, I feel like I was taken out. I want you to take the example from de Lima, the Brazilian runner. I want you to know it's not too late to get back in there. I know the enemy sends things to try to take us out. We are in a spiritual battle. The Bible says we do not battle against flesh and blood but powers and principalities. There is a spiritual battle. It is a fool who does not believe there is a real live enemy that wants to take you out of this fight. But you can get back in the race just like he did. In 1968, so this is way before many of you were born, there was a Tanzanian marathon runner the 1968 Olympics. It was an hour after the marathon winner crossed the finish line, Tanzania's Akhwari limped across the finish line injured in a fall that happened really really early in the race.

And asked why he didn't quit, all the media was around him, asked why he didn't quit, he said, my country did not send me 7.000 miles to start this race. My country sent me to finish. I cannot watch that video without weeping every single time. He's saying my country didn't just send me to start. Yes, I had an accident and yes I fell and yes I eventually limped across the finish line an hour after everyone else, but he didn't send me here to start. He sent me here to finish.

I want to remind you, church, I want to remind us Jesus did not send us here to earth to start our race but he wanted us to finish our course. We are only here for the equivalent of a vapor. The Bible says in the book of James life is but a vapor. Paul talks this momentary and light afflictions. We need to make this run and only life count. We need to not allow things to take us out of the race. You know, if you've not started running yet, today is your day. If you've stumbled or fallen over, I want to encourage you to get back up by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you've gotten distracted or gotten off course with other attractions, I want to encourage you to get back on course. It's not too late. It's not over. If you still have breath in your lungs, there's still a purpose for your life. There's still a race for you to run. There is still a course for you to finish.

You know what? We are running not for our own glory. We are running for the glory of God. I'm speaking to someone today. Don't quit. Don't give up. Don't stop. It's time to get back up. Your greatest days are ahead of you and behind you. Your failure is not final. Your mistake is not fatal. You can get back up and run the race God has for you. I want to be able to say like Paul did, 2 Timothy 4... We are running for an eternal crown. Some of you you're going through incredible suffering right now. You're going through incredible pain right now. And I want to say to you right now it's not all for nothing. God sees, God knows, God cares. The Bible says he bottles our tears. God sees your tears, the ones that you're weeping at night when you think your spouse is asleep, God hears. God sees. It matters to God.

There is an art to running a marathon race and if we're going to make it to the end, we have to be committed to the art of running. I told you in one of the previous episodes that nick and I attended some of the events of the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, and you know, I am a sports fan as you can tell. I'm doing a whole series on marathon runners. Is it doesn't mean that I run or -i do run but it's more like a slow jog but I do run but I don't do marathons but I love watching athletes do their things. I've always loved watching sports. And I was in my element. I mean, they brought the Olympics to Sydney, Australia. Man, I don't know if you've ever been but there are few more beautiful cities on planet earth than Sydney, Australia. And don't forget of course I'm even more excited because we were in Sydney, Australia at the Olympics and it was the Greeks who invented the Olympic games so I'm heavily invested in all of this.

I'm feeling like this is it. My people invented the games, we're now in the country where I live. It's all kind of happening. So the highlight for me of all of these races was the women's 100 meter sprint final. It was amazing. So on the big screen I could see the face of the incredible Marion Jones. In fact, I was sitting and she was like not that far away. At least 100 meters because it was 100 meter race and I was at the finish line and she was like way back at the starting line, but as she took those starting blocks, my eyes were fixated on Marion Jones. I'm like, wow. Wow. She took those starting blocks and her face, it was set like Flynn. Man, woman did not fly to Australia to play. She was serious.

So I had never seen anyone so focused or so determined in my life. It was actually awe inspiring to see. So although of course I had never spoken to her, I was trying to imagine in my mind what was it that she was thinking about? Like when she was in those starting blocks which look nothing like what I'm looking like, but when she was in those starting blocks, what was it she was thinking about? And although I've never personally had the opportunity to ask her, I could tell you 100% what I don't think she was thinking about. I doubt she was saying man, I hope I come in third today. I hope I come last. Oh, I hope I come 6th. I guaranty you when she was focused in those starting blocks, she wasn't thinking anything other than I'm going to win this race. If you had seen her face, you would have known that's exactly what she was thinking. I'm going to win this race. She came to Australia to compete in the Olympics with one goal, she was determined to win.

Now, this attitude reminded me of something that Paul said right there from 1 Corinthians 9: 24. He says ... The Bible says so run that you may win in another version. So everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all they do, but they do it to receive a perishable crown. We for an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way as not without aim. I box in such a way as not beating the air, but I discipline my body and I keep it under control as after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. That's what Paul said in the message Bible. We read it right from the beginning. You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everybody runs. One wins. Run to win. So from this text we see it's the will of God we run our race and that we are doing that with the purpose of winning. Of course I'm not talking about being the fastest or being the biggest or being the best. I'm talking about being faithful to Jesus until the end of our race. Doing all that God has put us on this earth to do and being all that God has created us to be.

That is what is winning. You know, that day in Sydney at the 2.000 Olympic games there were 116.000 spectators in the grandstand. They were watching the day that Marion Jones won that gold medal. It was incredible being in that particular atmosphere I've got to tell you. It was one of the most amazing things in my life. But only 8 people in that entire stadium had paid the price to get in the race to make the final and have a chance to win the gold medal. Now, those 8 participators had done very different things that the other 116.000 of us that were in the grand stands as spectators. That's why they even got into the race in the first place and that's why they were in with a chance to win the medal, because they did something extremely different to all of us who just turned up with our popcorn and coke to watch the race.

You see, you have to be in the race to run the race and to win the medal in the race. In the same way the spiritual race that God has for each and every one of us to run, every single one of us has to understand that there are things we do and have to do to actually run our race. We can't just be sitting in a grandstand as a spectator at Christian events and expect the same rewards as a participator in the Christian journey. Every person was created on purpose and for a purpose. You get to choose whether you want to sit in the grandstands watch the race of life or whether you're willing to pay the price, to get out of the grandstand, to run your race and to finish your course. You don't get the medal by sitting in the grandstand. You only get the medal if you run and you finish.

Now, we've already established in this series that we're running in a marathon and not a sprint. So our race lasts for all of our lives. The key to running to win is to fix our eyes on Jesus. He's the author and he is the finisher of our faith. It's the only way. I want to remind someone today the only way you're going to get to that finish line is by fixing your eyes on Jesus. We've already learned that marathon runners they have a vision for the entire race. They've got a commitment to preparation. Man, they don't bypass preparation like many of us do. They're to willing to endure discomfort, it's so important that we don't think that our Christian life is supposed to be a life of comfort, safety or ease. We are really miss guided if we think that's what Christianity is. You see, marathon runners they maintain their daily disciplines, the little things behind the scenes make what happens on the track much more effective. Everything matters, guys. What we do behind the scenes does matter.

God doesn't expect us to be one person in private and another person in public. An integrated life is a whole life. An integrous life. It doesn't mean it's a mistake free life but it does mean it's an integrated life. We are the same people here as we are there, and we make mistakes, and we acknowledge those, we apologize for those, we do whatever we need to do to make those right but the fact is we are the same person behind the scenes as in front of the scenes. You know, it's so, so important that we keep our daily disciplines to keep building practices that will keep us integrous so that our character actually matches up to the place where God placed us. Marathon runners they focus on the goal. The goal is being conformed to the image of God and fulfilling to the purpose of God. They don't get caught up with comparison and competition.

It's so important that we stay focused on the goal. We realize the run is worth the effort. There will be eternal rewards. We're running for a reason. This pain is for a reason. This pressing through is for a reason. This resilience is for a reason. This tenacity is for a reason. This courage is for a reason. It's not just a waste of time in light of eternity. We're fulfilling our God given purpose and we're so determined to never ever ever ever give up.

You remember the words of Winston Churchill, never ever ever ever ever give up, that we are going to run and we're going to finish. And the fact is to do that we have to develop the art of running. There is an art to run, and for the rest of the this series, we are going to focus specifically on how do we cultivate the art of running? How do we run in such a way we will finish our race? How do we run in such a way that we will finish our course? And specially for those of us that are not runners, it is very important that we understand the art of running. There is an art of the way we can run through our Christian life here on earth to fulfill the will and purpose of God, to become the man or woman of God that we are destined to be. I want us to run our race and not just run aimlessly, not just fight aimlessly but I want every single one of us, I want me and you on the other side of the screen to make sure we run to win.
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