Christine Caine - Run To Win - Part 7
Hey, everyone. I am so grateful you have joined us today. I am so excited today. We're going to be wrapping up this awesome series on what it is to run to win. I have loved being a part of this series. I've learned a lot and I hope you have to. We have been talking about the fact God has a spiritual race for us to run. And you know what? He doesn't want us to just kind of get through life. He wants us to flourish. He wants us to run to win. And we've been looking at this life like a marathon, not like a sprint. If you take a sprint approach to running your race on this earth, then you're going to get exhausted, burned out, you're not going to get to the finish line. But we want to be a people of tenacity and resilience and endurance. We want to run our race. We want to finish our course. We want to cross into over that finish line and receive our eternal reward. We want to live the faith adventure God has put us on this earth to live.
So we've looked at the art of running. What is it to run? How do you run and how can you run well? And today we're going to talk about the fact that runners maintain a very very healthy diet. Some of you are like wow. We're going there. Yes, mama Chris is going to go there because I want you to run to win. Some of us are not going to want to hear this. I get, it but the truth is that what runners eat and drink is absolutely crucial. You see, they need lots of protein for their muscle repair and calcium to protect bones from fractures. You know, caffeine and alcohol often lead to dehydration to you find that really serious runners they tend to avoid that. They don't have too much of these things. And runners have to eat a full breakfast before a race, and early on this the morning so they don't get stomach cramps and nausea.
See, runners need to fuel their bodies properly so they do not run out of steam. You need the right mix of cashes and protein and healthy fats. Do you feel like you're in a home economics lesson right now? As well as constant hydration. So likewise if you and I are going to run to win in our spiritual race, we're going to have to learn to feast on the right things. There are some spiritual practices that will fuel and sustain our spiritual run. Some things will give us additional energy and other things will deplete us, so be sure to put the right things in. And of course the right things spiritually. We need the fuel of the Word of God. This is the most important thing.
We read in Joshua 1:8 that this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have success. So we must stay nourished spiritually by staying in the Word of God daily. Listen, a snack once a week that's not enough. This book is living. This book is active. It brings life. It brings hope. It brings healing. It brings guidance. It brings correction. It brings wisdom. This book literally has saved my mind. This book continues to renew my mind day in and day out. It's a book of life. It's a book of hope. It's a book of purpose. It is alive. The Word of God, this is the first thing we need to make sure daily, daily that we are feasting on. Secondly, we need to make sure we're being empowered by the Holy Spirit of God. Ephesians 5:18...
You know, in acts chapter 1:8, remember the scripture says and you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You see, we were never designed to run our race alone. We need Holy Ghost power. The same spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead lives on the inside of you and on the inside of me. He gives us the strength, he gives us the power, he gives us the wisdom and the understanding to run our race and to finish our course. So perhaps today you need a fresh infilling of the Spirit of God. Perhaps you're feeling weary and heavy laden because you're trying to do in your own strength what you can only do in God's strength.
So thirdly, we need to saturate ourselves in praise and in worship, in terms of spiritual nourishment there is nothing like basking in the presence of the God and being filled. It's like water to your soul and spirit. You know, the worship style of music that you listen to is not what I'm talking about here. Listen to whatever works for you. Whatever makes your spirit sore. Whatever cultivates a practice of praising and worshipping God. Whatever works for you that's fine, but the fact is in my home we have worship playing. In my car I put worship music on. I believe that something happens, something powerful happens in the heavenlies when you saturate the atmosphere with praise and worship to the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It literally changes the atmosphere of your home.
You know, I remember when I was recovering from thyroid cancer surgery, I'm in the hospital and I had worship music playing in my room. It fueled my spirit. It strengthened my heart. It connected me to God when I was kind of lying there. I couldn't speak, it connected me to God, so there's something about worshipping God, about praising God. And you know, make sure where you're able to be connected to a strong healthy Bible based local church community. I can't emphasize enough how helpful it is to be part of a healthy body. You know, a Bible based spirit filled loving, people loving, disciple making local church family. We need each other. There is not one of us that was designed to do this alone.
You know, we can't run alone for too long. We need to encourage each other. We need to lift each other up. We need to learn together, to grow together. We need strong, faith filled people to nourish us, to pick us up when we fall. Our friendships and our relationships are either helping us to run towards our purpose or taking us away from our God given purpose. So to run your race and to stay on course and to finish strong you will need healthy strong spiritual community. And of course staying closely connected to God through regular prayer is an absolutely crucial aspect of any spiritual diet. But prayer is not a duty but a delight. It's the place where you can be totally honest and transparent with God. He wants us to pour out our hearts to him, to make our requests known to him, to listen to him. You know, prayer feeds us, prayer nourishes us and fuels us. Prayer keeps us connected to God.
So remember what you put into you, it actually matters if you want to have a healthy spiritual diet and to stay spiritually strong so you can run and finish well. It's important to understand that runners too are dressed for success. Have you ever noticed when runners are running they wear really light clothing, shorts and a singlette made out of the right lightweight fabric. You don't see a runner wearing mountain climbing gear. They're not wearing any unnecessary articles of clothing. They shed any unnecessary layers, and they run in light breathable layers. They wear proper running shoes in order to avoid any injuries, and everything is measured and appropriate for the race they are running. I love Hebrews 12:1 and 2. We've referred to it so much in this series. We read...
The writer to the Hebrews right here reminds us we must take responsibility to lay aside anything that would hinder us from running at maximum speed. We must choose to lay aside unnecessary weights and sins. Weights can be good things that served us in one season but have become totally unnecessary in this season. You know, sins are always holding us back, and hindering our effectiveness. Weights and sins will hold you back. You can't run with endurance while weighed down with things like shame and guilt and bitterness and offenses and unforgivenness and anger and jealousy and lust and greed or envy. These things will weigh you down and take you out of the race. Therefore we must choose to regularly lay aside the excess baggage that will weigh us down and hinder our capacity to run to win. We need to remember that we are not God. And even God himself after six days of creation, on the 7th day he rested. God is the one doing the work through us. And he has given us a physical body that actually just literally needs rest. In fact, rest and recreation it was part of God's original top Ten Commandments. Of course in Exodus 20, we read...
It's interesting because this commandment is probably the one that most people think is actually the least applicable today. But this commandment really has the greatest effect on the health of a whole nation, upon our family life and medical health. See, with the industrial and technological revolution life has become busier. There's a pressure to achieve more, to be bigger, to move faster, to be better, to be stronger, to be richer. We have our phones in our hands 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are always on. We are always accessible and we're always connected. This is not good for our souls or for our ability to endure to the end. We are not hard wired to operate like that. We have to learn to switch off and to give our bodies time to recreate. The instant nature of our society, of our food, of our entertainment, of our communication and of our travel can and does impact our lives.
How a runner thinks determines how a runner runs. The Bible says in Romans 12:2... If we're going to run our race and finish our course, then we must be committed to constantly renewing our minds according to the Word of God. Nothing in life changes until you change the way you think. Our thoughts are literally like a train. They take us somewhere, so we need to think about the things we're thinking about so we can run with strength. We can't be filled with constant negativity, and let me just say in our world we can be bombarded with constant negativity, so we need to stop and think about what we're thinking about. Of course in Philippians 4:8, we read that: you know, there's so much negativity and chaos, so much division in our world, if you spend all of your time listening to the news or gossip or negative friends, you will not have the fuel you need to keep your spiritual life at an optimum, and you're going to find it to keep running your race and to keep finishing your course.
You know, I personally have to fight to protect my thoughts so my thinking does not spiral out of control. When my mind is full of joy and peace, I can run fast every, I can run harder, I can run further they are. So choose to think about what you're thinking about every single day. Another important aspect of running is that runners stretch and strengthen. So in order to run at optimal capacity, runners need to stretch before and after each run. I'm speaking to myself right now. So if they do not, their bodies will become rigid and inflexible. Exhibit a, that would be me. I have to admit I do need to take my own advice in this area because as we grow older we lose our flexibility and we're prone to more and more injuries. I often think I don't have time to stretch and then I wonder why I feel very very stiff the next day. Stretching actually reduces muscle tension, it promotes circulation, and it reduces the risk of injury. Stretching is a very very important practice.
In Isaiah 54: 2 the prophet tells the Israelites that they need to enlarge the place of their tent and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwelling. Do not spare. Lengthen your cords. Strengthen your stakes. See, in a time of captivity and of great restriction, a time of exile, the prophet says, you know what? Just when you feel like everything is contracting, this is when you need to stretch and strengthen and enlarge. This is when you need to lengthen. This is not a time to pull back and get smaller. This is actually a time where it's going to hurt but you've got to stretch and enlarge. And we as Jesus followers we need to ensure we do not get so comfortable and contained in our spiritual walk that we don't simply settle and stop stretching and reaching. We want to lay hold of all of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of us. We're going to have to stretch beyond our comfort zone if we want to run to win.
If we do not do this, we will become inflexible, we will become rigid and stale, and we will contract rather than expand. You've always got to reach a little beyond where you are right now. You know, have you ever met those kinds of Jesus followers that they're not fun to be around. The ones that are just like small minded and small thinking. They get stuck in the past and stuck in their old ways of doing things. They get stuck in the same routines. They haven't had a knew idea in years. You and I we ought to be living this adventure wide eyed in awe of our great God, constantly learning and constantly growing and expanding. You know, when I turned 50 I enrolled in grad school for this very reason. I didn't want to get rigid. I didn't want to just keep talking about the good old days. I wanted to stretch and enlarge and stretch my mind and enhance my skills. I didn't want to get stuck in the past. I didn't want my best days with Jesus to be behind me but I wanted to keep pressing and growing and flourishing for the glory of God.
You see, this is the abundant life that we have been called to. We don't need to stagnate. We don't need to shrink or live a small life. If you are bored as a Christian, then let me tell you, you are not stretching. You're not stretching. Some of you, you just got off the couch right now and you're starting to do stretches right there. You know what? You've stopped for the unsearchable riches of Christ. You've stopped seeking the unsearchable riches of Christ. You cannot be bored and be a Jesus follower. Listen, it's possible. It is impossible to truly be in relationship with Jesus be fulfilling the purpose of God in your generation and to be bored. We are called to faith adventure.
There's nothing boring about Jesus. There is nothing boring about following Jesus. There is nothing boring about living the Christian life. There ought to be a spring in your step. There ought to be a glint in your eye. There ought to be something unusual about you, so make the decision to get up, the decision to stretch again, the decision to grow again. Listen, no matter how old you are, I'm 55, I feel like I'm just getting started. But man, this is the time when I could be stretching more than expanding. I have to proactively choose to stretch and enlarge. Can I just tell some people at my age and older, listen, don't become rigid and grumpy. Don't become inflexible. Don't become that grandparent that no one wants to go visit. Don't be that person. I want to be a super granny for Jesus where everybody goes I want to be around them because they still love Jesus.
Some Christians look like they've been sucking lemons. They just look so depressed. Put a smile on your face. If Jesus is that awesome, why doesn't the world realize that he is awesome. We ought to be producing the Fruit of the Spirit of God. There ought to be something about Jesus followers that says I want what she's got. I want what she's got. You and I we are running an eternal race. We are gaining an eternal reward. That alone ought to fire you up. Now, the reason we've been examining how runners run more effectively is because you and I we want to run our spiritual race effectively until we cross that finish line. I want to you make it. I want to take as many people across that finish line with me. You see, God made us on purpose for a purpose.
One of my favorite verses and if you've heard me preach I quote this all the time. Ephesians 2:10, we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus. What for? For good works that God prepared beforehand right here in eternity so that we would walk in them right here on earth. Do you see that God made us on purpose and for a purpose? He made us with intentionality to fulfill his purpose here on earth. He prepared it for us in eternity. You see, of course we're saved by grace through faith. Of course, but we're saved by grace through faith for good works. There's something we are here on the planet to do, and we want to ensure we use all the time God has given us to do what God has called us to do.
There are gifts he's given us and we don't want to die with those unused gifts on the inside of us. There are resources that we have been given so we can run our race and finish our course more effectively. I believe God has put us on this earth for purpose on purpose. You and I are saved and called the Bible says.
We are not here on planet earth simply waiting to die, and then go to heaven. We did not just pray a little prayer for fire insurance for when we die and then just do nothing. No, no, no. We come into faith. We believe Jesus, and then we live the life that he put us on this earth to live. We've got a race to run and we want to get in our lane. We want to run our race. We want to finish our course. We want to cross that finish line and fall into our Savior's arms, and we want to hear well done, good and faithful servant. Not what did you do while you were on earth but well done! You did everything on the earth to do. We want to run this race with tenacity, with strength, with courage, with joy, with love, with confidence and with endurance. In a race everyone runs, let's make sure that we run to win.