Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 6
Hi, everyone. I am so grateful that you have joined us again today. Well, we are wrapping up today. One of my favorite series that we've done and we've been talking about running this spiritual race and not just running to get by, but running in order to win, to be who God's called us to be, to do what God has called us to do. We've looked at the life of marathon runners to see, how is it that we run this marathon because God has not called us to run a sprint. In 1 Corinthians 9, we're called to run this race and to run to win, in Hebrews 12, we're told that we are running in a race.
And so there is the metaphor of running throughout scripture and there is a way to run in order to finish. God doesn't want us just to start well, he wants us to finish well. So we've been looking at what a marathon runner does in order to finish well because a marathon runner runs very differently to a sprinter we've learnt about that. We're looking at the art of running, especially for those of us that don't run a lot. It is great to know since Paul used the metaphor of a runner he says, run to win he didn't say walk to win, he didn't say crawl to win, he didn't say cycle to win, he didn't say swim to win he said, run to win.
So we want to learn what it is to run well. We looked at the fact that runners have a holistic approach to life. They look after themselves, body, soul in their spirit they look after themselves in every realm what they eat matters, looking after their actual body matters. And since you and I are spiritual runners and God has created us body, soul, and spirit, he has created us as tripod type beings. Then it is so important that we look after ourselves. And we looked at the importance of our nutrition, the importance of our fitness, health and fitness matter because this body is what Carries the Spirit of God. The presence of God, into a lost and a broken world. God has put his treasure in these earth and vessels. Yes we are flawed, yes we are broken but God in his infinite wisdom, God in his sovereignty has chosen to put his spirit on the inside of us. And scripture says, out of us will flow rivers of living water into a lost and a broken world.
So if you want to run your race and you want to finish your course, it's important to look after our physical tends to the best ability that we can. And then when it now looking at the soul, because in 3 John 2, John wrote, "Beloved I pray that you prosper and are in good health," how? Even as your soul prospers. So the fact of the matter is if we are going to run to win, we have to understand that our soul realm matters. That our Christianity flows from the inside out, not from the outside in, our soul, our mind, our will, our intellect, our emotions it matters. You know, there are so many people who have great spiritual gifts and great health but often they have had their destiny sabotage simply because they've never learned to manage their emotions, to manage they will, to manage their thinking. It's often an unhealthy soul that keeps us from finishing strong. So the soul is very important to God. And I want to remind us today, that Christianity is not about some external behavior modification programs.
See a lot of us think man, if I could just modify my external behavior, if I could just do everything right. And it's as if Christianity is a sign of like, good works and just doing it right. And if I just go to church on time and I just go through all of the religious motions, Christianity is not about following just external rules or regulations it's actually about an internal heart transformation. God transforms the human heart. And everything then should flow from the inside out it's an overflow of who we are. So Christianity is not about our do it's about our who, and our do should flow from our who I hope I haven't confused you today. But a lot of us we think, well, look, I'm just a good Christian, I do all the right things, I don't cuss, I don't drink, I go to church, I read my Bible.
You know, I just, on the outside everything's great but then it could be full of bitterness and anger and lust and greed and envy and out of the heart the Bible says, flows every evil thing. So we need to look at our lives from the inside out not the outside in, if we are going to run our raise and if we're going to finish our course. God wants us to produce the fruit of his Holy Spirit, which comes from an internal change. We need to be committed to the ongoing sanctification process, the ongoing process of transformation. Oftentimes we don't talk about how important it is to be changed from the inside out. When you step into an abundant life when you acknowledge and understand that our Christianity flows from the inside out not the outside in.
You know, our soul is something that you can't see but it literally impacts everything that we do. We must bring our soul into alignment with the Word of God. And if we're going to flourish in life, if we're going to run our race, if we're going to finish our course we must be committed to transformation now, over the course of my life, I've done some deep, deep work with the Holy Spirit and with counselors in my soul realm. I love the Holy Spirit the Bible says, that he's a wonderful counselor. And I was so broken after years of abuse and abandonment and rejection and just insecurity and fear and doubt I needed, I needed deep ongoing inner healing and soul work in my life. There is no way I would be doing today what I'm doing if i, on a continual basis did not intensely for many years and regularly still today, allow God to do a work from the inside out.
I've had to work through major trauma, I've had to work through fears and failures and deal with bitterness and unforgiveness and rejection and greed and envy and hurt and offense and shame and guilt and condemnation, I mean, the list is endless it flows from the inside out. And so the more I allowed God to do a deep and a healing work in my soul, then the more God has been able to do through me for his great glory I pray on the earth. It's so important to know that, that your inner world totally affects your outer world. And sometimes we think that they're not connected and we wonder why our lives are falling apart, but what's going on on the inside greatly impacts everything on the outside. If there's a disparity between what's going on inside your heart and how you're depicting your life out there, and particularly how we are curating our lives on social media with different fonts and different filters.
Let me just say, if there's a disparity between your inner world and your outer world your world will eventually implode. Let me just say decades and decades of following Jesus, I have literally seen this happen time and time and time again great people and people that I love. But people that had a disparity between their inner world and their outer world that doesn't mean we have a mistake free life or a failure free life. But when I'm saying there's a pattern of habitual sin and covering, you know, there's a disparity between what's going on in there and what you're depicting out there. Eventually, that world will collapse. And so God wants to come into those places of brokenness, of woundedness and those places of sin and darkness and bring healing and bring wholeness and bring redemption. But you've got to let him come from the inside out.
Scripture is full of examples of people who literally, did not run their race and finish their course because they did not deal with issues of the soul. Remember Samson, he had all the potential in the world to be someone great for God and to lead the people of Israel out of the backslidden state. Humanly speaking, there was nobody physically stronger than Samson. And he also had a spiritual sharpness and great mental ability and an angel of the Lord predicted of Samson, before he was even born he said he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines, in the book of judges 13:5 it's clear that God's hand was upon Samson. The Lord blessed him and the spirit of the Lord begun to stir him it says, but Samson had power without purity, he had strength without self-control, he had an ego that was out of control, he thought he was invincible.
Now, that is a dangerous place for your soul to be in. God extended grace to Samson for 20 solid years. Even when he married a Philistine, when he slept with prostitutes but then came Delilah and Samson yielded to temptation and lust and he told her the secret of his strength. And of course that was his hair. And so when the Philistines captured him, he no longer had super natural strength. He had so lost touch with God that we read in the book of judges 16:20, that he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. I don't know what could be more tragic in scripture. That's how broken that Samson's in a soul realm was. He didn't even know that the Lord had departed from him. Listen, when we elevate our thinking to spiritual thoughts, we honestly find more peace and more joy. When we elevate our thoughts and we fix our minds on Jesus, we have more peace and more joy. So we have to learn to set our minds on the things of the spirit if we're going to run our race, if we're going to finish our course.
It's so easy to become consumed with the here and now, but we have to train ourselves to walk by faith and not by sight. You know, I love Galatians 5:16 it says, Paul writes "I say, then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things you wish". Man, we could all relate to this. How often do we think to ourselves and say things that we know we just should not? And it seems that there's an internal war going on on the inside. I want to obey God but I'm pulled in this direction by my flesh, my thoughts and my wants, and my desires just are pulling me away from the things of God there.
This was a real fight for the apostle Paul just as it is for you and me today. He says in Galatians 5:25, listen, "If we live in the spirit, let us then also walk by the spirit". It's a choice to walk by faith and not by sight, it's a choice to walk by the spirit. We are constantly going to have a fight between our spirit man and our flesh. And we have to learn to walk in the spirit. We can't discard this area of our lives because it's crucial if we're going to run to win in life. You know, all runners try to create a strong foundation by doing lots of distance and endurance training. Now, they're trying to construct and aerobic foundation and a plumbing system basically. So they're increasing their cardiovascular and lung capacity so that when they race they've got a system that could support the demand that they're making on it. So they must do lots of resistance training to develop strength and stop injuries. There's a lot of boring, repetitive hard work that often seems so far removed from the reality of the actual race.
So if they do not do this, they will not have the foundation required to run on race day and to win. So sometimes we think that God's taken a long time to outwork his purpose in our lives. We can feel that the apparently insignificant things we're doing right now are a waste of time, but these are often the very things that are preparing us for the future. God's building a strong foundation in us. He is building our strength and our endurance so that when a demand is made on us, we will not waver. I think of all the years I spent driving to speak to small youth groups in country towns in Australia. You know, that didn't seem like significant things but they were preparing me to talk to people about Jesus all over the world today.
The fact is I spent years serving in a local community based youth center in a suburb of Sydney, Australia, it didn't seem significant, but it was preparing me to run a global anti-human trafficking organization today. I spent years traveling to speak at women's conferences and women's gatherings all over the world. Never realizing God was preparing me to run a global women's movement called propel today. All of those years in anonymity, all of those years in obscurity were preparing me for what God had already prepared for me. See sometimes where you are seems to be far removed from where you want to be, but you're building your capacity.
You know, the Australian Robert de Castella, who was the former world champion marathon runner he once said, a lot of people do not realize that about 98% of the running I put in is anything but glamorous. It is 2% joyful participation and 98% dedication. So much of winning in life is about hard work, about perseverance, about endurance and about commitment. If David never looked after sheep and had not killed a lion in a den, there wouldn't be no Goliath. So fulfilling our purpose is a process, running a race takes dedication, finishing our course takes endurance. The only way to build your personal capacity is to establish a really, really strong foundation. There are no overnight successes in the Bible. It takes people years to fulfill their purpose.
Esther was in the king's court for years before she had her historic moment, Moses was in the backside of the desert for years before his moment, you cannot rush God. You should not try to run ahead of God. It takes faith and patience to run out race. Take the time to build your foundation because you do not want your gift to take you to a place that your character can keep you. It's disastrous when that happens, it's disastrous so runners start slowly and build gradually. In order to improve the body's ability to sustain high intensity effort for longer periods of time, runners must increase the exercise volume by training longer, working harder, doing hills and increasing in speed.
Now, runners do this gradually. If they overdo an increase in knowledge, intensity, or speed to soon they will burn out or they'll get injured. So many beginners make the mistake of running too fast and too far. And so you cannot run flat out and long every single day. You train for endurance first, and then you train for speed.
You know, it's interesting in the book of Isaiah 28:10, the prophet says, "For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little there a little," did you get that? God builds line by line. You build everything in life one step at a time. You build a strong foundation that will be able to carry the weight of the next layer you put on top of that foundation line upon line, you build a strong marriage line upon line, you build healthy finances line upon line, you build your physical health line upon line, you build your friendships line upon line, you build purpose line upon line step by step. Our Christian life, it's about running our race and lasting the distance. You need both endurance and speed. You do not have to run anyone else's race or keep up with them.
It's important to note that there are times and seasons in our Christian journey, we have to understand timing and we have to understand different seasons if we are to finish strong. So often we tend to look at the pace of someone else's race and compare ourselves to that instead of designing the time or the season that we are in, in our own race. We experienced so much disappointment, so much frustration and confusion when we do not understand times and seasons. The Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 10:12, that those who can pay themselves among themselves are not wise. You will never finish your race if you try and compete with somebody else's race. You know what? You need to get off social media stop comparing, stop competing to somebody else's race. You got to run your race and you've got to finish your course.
So in order to see an example of someone who tried to run ahead of the timing of God, who wanted to do something, he was not yet called to do. He took the easy way and the shortest way, but had nothing to give when he got to where he was. I want us to turn to 2 Samuel 18:19-32. This is a powerful passage of scripture. So we're at 2 Samuel 18:19-32. The Bible says:
"Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, 'let me run and carry news to the king that the Lord has delivered him from the hand of his enemies.' And Joab said to him, 'you are not to carry the news today. You may carry the news another day, but today you shall carry no news because the king's son is dead.' Then Joab said to the Cushite 'go tell the king what you have seen.' The Cushite bowed before Joab and ran. Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said again to Joab 'come what may let me also run after the Cushite.' And Joab said, 'why will you run my son, seeing that you will have no reward for the news?' 'Come what may' he said 'i will run.' So he said to him, 'run.' Then Ahimaaz ran by the way of the plain and outran the Cushite. Now, David was sitting between the two gates and the watchman went up to the roof of the gate by the wall when he lifted up his eyes and he looked, he saw a man running alone. The watchman called out and told the king and the king said, 'if he's alone there is news in his mouth.' And he drew nearer and nearer. The watchman so another man running and the watchman called the gate and said, 'see another man running alone.' The king said 'he also brings news.' The watchman said, 'I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz as the son of Zadok.' And the king said, 'he's a good man and he comes with good news.' Then Ahimaaz cried out to the king, 'all is well.' And he bowed before the king with his face to the earth and said, 'blessed be the Lord your God, who was delivered up the men who raised their hand against my Lord the king.' And the king said 'it is well with the young man Absalom.' Ahimaaz answered, 'when Joab sent the king's servant, your servant, I saw a great commotion but I do not know what it was.' And the king said, 'turn aside and stand here.' So he turned aside and stood there. And behold the Cushite came and the Cushite said, 'good use for my Lord the king for the Lord has delivered you this day from the hand of all who rose up against you.' The king said to the Cushite, 'it is well with the young man Absalom,' and the Cushite answered, 'may the enemies of my Lord, the king, and all who rise up against you for evil be like that young man.'"
David was devastated. What a story, Ahimaaz wanted to be the one to run ahead and to tell king David the news that they had won the battle, but he did not know if Absalom had died or not. He was not yet ready to go. You saw that the Cushite got there and David, all David cared about was what is the news about my son Absalom? And suddenly he's realizing I don't have what it takes. I don't know and let me just tell you, there is nothing worse than the king then saying, you know what? Just stay there and turn away. There you go, you're only going to get one shot at this thing. So it is much better to do the preparation to get the character, to get the knowledge, to get the skills, to get the understanding. And in order to then take your opportunity and then have the goods when you get there.
The Cushite tried to get there the easy way, the Cushite tried to get there before his time. And when he got there, he had nothing to deliver. Our goal is that when we get to the place that we believe that God has called us, we've actually got something to deliver that we can actually carry the weight of what it is that God has put in our hands. And so we've got to do all of the preparation and understand that we build gradually. I know we live in an instant world that wants overnight success, but we have to build gradually so that we can become who we need to become in order to do what God has called us to do.