Scripture:(1 Corinthians 9:26 KJV) I therefore so run, not as
uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
OK, I don't have any witty stories or elegant illustrations for today's message just a truth that might seem self evident but is too often overlooked. I at first thought that God was leading me in a direction of re-evaluation. And in a sense He is. But the true message goes deeper than that and yet is simpler. Sometimes it is the simple things in life that are the deepest. It is all made clear in the passage above where Paul is describing his ministry. So, we could just cut right to the chase here and tell you to re-evaluate your goals and take aim for what you aim at is what you will hit. I really believe that. If you do not have any goals, or are just beating the air, as Paul puts it, you will achieve just that, emptiness and frustration. But when you set your sights upon something and firmly go after it not only will that thing come closer in focus but it will also be the mark that you judge yourself by.
Too often we have set goals in the past and either missed the mark and lost confidence in ourselves or hitting the goal we discovered the futility of it and lost interest in future pursuits. Then there are those of us who are right in the flow of the game. I guess it would be too simple to just say set some goals for yourself and go after them. That is not what Paul is saying either. Besides, we have all discover that simply be setting goals and achieving them may fulfill a portion of our need for self gratification if the mark is not true it takes us back to the feeling of vanity and futility. STOP ALREADY! Life is meant to be lived to its fullest and enjoyed to the utmost. Jesus told us that He came to give us life and more abundantly. He is the way, the truth and the life. Do not let the enemy steal another moment of the precious gift that God has given you which is life itself.
Sure there are going to be tough times. Yes there is pain and suffering and war and famine and sickness and confusion and strife all throughout the world. You may be experiencing some great trials of your strength even now but be assured that God is able. GOD IS ABLE.
I know that most of you do not really know that much about me. Well, I will tell you this much, I have lived more of life then anyone I know. By that I mean the experiences that I have gone through and the different lifestyles that I have experienced most people do not even imagine possible. Please, I am most certainly not bragging about this. If anything I could complain about it. I would much have rather had a simple, normal, mundane life. WHAT AM I SAYING! NO I WOULDN'T.
God allowed me to go through a lot I think in order to know the wrong way from the right. You see I had set many goals in my life. Most of which I achieved, yet in doing so I found myself unfulfilled.
I just feel lead right now to ask you what goals you might have for your life? I mean anything at all. Short term goals, five year goals, long term goals, financial goals, career goals, what are some of your goals in life? After you think of what they are I want you to imagine that you have already achieved them. Now what?
I think we better go back to our scripture to maybe find the simple truth of finding fulfillment in having the right goals. So in a sense you see today's message is about re-evaluating our lives yet again and more so, it is about taking aim.
(1 Corinthians 9:23 - 26 NIV) I do all this for the sake of the
gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all
the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the
prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it
to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last
Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.
Maybe it is just that we do not fully understand the gospel. OH, Yah, I know you have heard the old, old story about a savior came from glory. How he gave his life on Calvary, to save a wretch like me..... But do we really know the power, I mean the life changing power of that good news. My fear is that your life has not been changed by the gospel as you know it. Now I am not talking to everyone reading this today but you know who I am talking about. All the old things for you have not been done away with. All things for you are not new. You, really do not even know if you are saved or not, let alone what it means to be saved. Keep reading my friend for God has got something for you today. You see, I never understood it either. I said that prayer of salvation back when I was twelve years old then my older brother died in a car accident two years later and I turned my back on God and searched everywhere else in the world for my peace. I am sure you do not want to hear about my days studying Buddhism or Taoism, or playing in the Wicca world of the occult. the sad part is that all of that was just the tip of the iceberg of the depths I dug trying to find that which can only, and I emphasize ONLY be found in the gospel.
So what is it? How do you get it? How do you keep it? I think the real question is, do you want it? Do you know that it is real and available for you? Do you understand that it is a free gift that will cost you everything? That's right. It is going to cost you all your fear, all your doubt, all your hatred, all your unforgiveness, all your insecurities. It is going to cost your heart. But the great thing is, is the more you give up the more you get in return. Let's say, you lost your job and you are looking for another one. You have tried everywhere you know and everyway you know. And yes you have tried praying about it, but to no avail. Now let's apply the gospel.
In a race, Paul tells us, everyone runs but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. Listen to what the word of the LORD is saying to you today and apply it to your life situation. To win the contest you must deny yourself many of the things that would keep you from doing your best. Now I am going to step beyond preaching and start meddling. What is it that has been keeping you from doing your best? What secret thing have you maybe been lusting after or desiring that you know God would not approve of but you don't care? Paul goes on in the next chapter to describe what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness over those forty years. The main reason that they did not reach the promise land was because they wanted things their way and in their time instead of God's way and in God's time. (1 Corinthians 10:11 KJV) Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
So what on earth does that have to do with you finding a Job? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. Let me ask you a couple of simple questions and maybe we both can take a re-evaluation of our aim. Are you a Christian? What does that meant to you? Have you ever really asked God to come into your life in the person of Jesus Christ? When you do you become the temple of the Holy Spirit. And so, it is no longer you but Christ within you that will lead you beside the still waters. When you completely become transformed by the renewing of your mind you will no longer copy the pop culture or customs and behaviors of this world but you will learn from your own experiences how His ways will really satisfy you.
You know the truth. He has been standing at the door of your heart for a long time now. Yes, you have let Him in the front door but you are keeping Him out of the living room and the kitchen and your bedroom and that closet. It's OK, look, if He forgave me, and He has, completely, He can forgive you and He can make all things new. Swing open every door of your heart, and let Jesus enter in. Let Him shine His light of life in upon you and see the true calling He has for you.
Earlier this week in a daily devotion I discovered a great but simple truth. Israel was blessing His children and when he came to Joseph he talked about how he was a strong bow, made strong by the hand of God. A bow has no power unless it is pulled against. Too often we feel as if we are being pulled from every direction. Trust God for the release. Now listen! This is it! We are the bow made strong by God. The pressures and temptations and struggles and everything else that goes on in in our lives are the things that pull that bow tight. Now the truth sets us free and in that release great power goes forth. But where is it aimed at? You see. you will hit what ever you aim for. And if you are not aiming at anything then you have no reason to complain about not being fulfilled. God does everything else for us. the least we can do is take aim. And the choice is clear. You know it as well as I do. You can give into the trials and temptations of the day or you can fight the good fight and overcome them and in so doing truly experience that victory of hitting the mark and winning the prize.
I feel like I have taken a long tome to say something real
simple. It is time to re-evaluate your aim. Paul tells us to run the race with
purpose. Take careful aim. Don't just be flinging your arrows wildly off in the
air. You are not shadow boxing hear this is the real fight. Verse 27 of the
ninth chapter of 1st Corinthians talks about how we need to be like an athlete
in training. Training our bodies to do what it should, not what it wants to.
Then Paul explains why. Because if we don't, we just might be disqualified. we
just might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside. This is no game my
friend. And I know that you want to experience that fullness of Christ. So the
question is how bad do you want it? How bad do you want real lasting peace? How
bad do you want to experience true deep down heart felt love? How bad do you
want to know that you know that you know that God dwells within your heart? It
starts by being willing to give up the things that you know are contrary to Him
and then you can go ahead and step out on faith and take aim for your high
calling for you my friend are indeed called of God and He loves you so much.
Accept Him now into your heart of hearts, repent of your sin and be born again,
In Jesus Name Amen.