I love watching the Olympics every two years. This year the venue was London. This is the one time every couple of years when our nation, the United States of America, rallies together to yell and cheer at their television for the great Red, White and Blue.
There is much time, money, practice and planning that goes into each Olympics. The estimated cost of the London Olympics was around $45 billion. Over 10,000 athletes trained their whole life for a gold medal in London. Over 200 countries are represented by these athletes. These athletes competed in over 20 different sports and close to 300 events.
I remember watching the Olympics when I was I child. The dream to excel in some sport and to receive a gold medal was something I coveted. Some of the greatest memories that I remember revolve around “The Dream Team.” In my opinion, there was never a better USA basketball team than they. They are the best of the best. One of my childish goals was to be on “The Dream Team.” You have never really heard of me because I never went to the Olympics.
If you think about what the Olympics does to an individual and a country, it really does “Inspire a Generation.” In the Christian life, each Christian has the opportunity to influence and inspire others. You will inspire those around you. Each Christian has a race to run. Paul referred to the Christian life as a race. People are watching you. How can you “Inspire a Generation?”
1. Run Well
Paul says in Galatians 5:7, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”Paul says the church in Galatia started running the Christian race well. They had standards, they believed the Word of God and they served God. However, Paul tells us that there came a time where error crept into their church and they began believing and doubting some of the things they were taught. They dropped their standards from their strong convictions. They didn’t care. They had liberty.
Run well, Christian. People are watching you. Don’t listen to the “new” stuff from the “preachers” on TV, radio or Internet. Listen to the Word of God. The way we run our race could hinder or help someone who is struggling in theirs. Run Well!
2. Run with Purpose.
Galatians 2:2 reads, “And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” Paul says again in Philippians 2:16, “Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”Christians should be running the Christian life with a purpose, but not because they are made to or because of what someone would say about them. We don’t run in vain because all we do is done to glorify God. Other people older and younger than you are watching to see why you do what you do. The younger children in the church are wanting to be like you. The older Christians desire for you to be a faithful solid Christian.
If we run in vain, we have wasted our run. It is empty. It is of no value to run. We should not be running empty. We should not be running in and of ourselves. We should be running in the Spirit. If I do not run with a purpose, I will not be able to rejoice in the day of Christ with Paul and many other faithful Christians. Run with a Purpose!
3. Run in a different direction.
Peter states in 1 Peter 4:4, “Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you.” As a Christian, do you realize that we have a different purpose and we go a different direction than our unsaved family, friends, and the world? When we trusted Christ as our personal Saviour, we became a new creature; we got new life; we received a new desire. All that we received at salvation points us in a new direction.
A Christian doesn’t smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, or party; at least we are not supposed to. These things are not found in the new direction. The new direction is one that is like Christ. We are named a Christian. God has written His name on us. Our direction is the total opposite of the direction of the world. Run Well. Run with a Purpose. Run in a Different Direction.
4. Run with patience.
The writer of Hebrews wrote in chapter twelve, verse one, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” The race ends when Christ comes back, or when death comes knocking on our door. Christ never says the race is easy. Actually it gets quite tiresome at times. We get weary and sometimes discouraged, but the Author says to be patient. Just keep running on. Why? Well, there are others who are watching, in Heaven, but also here on this Earth. God will be there every step of the way. Christ is our biggest cheerleader. He knows we can do it. He knows we can finish strong. Just keep on running. Don’t Quit! Run with Patience.
5. Run with your eye on the prize.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body and bring it into subjection: lest by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1 Cor. 9:24-27) “Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13-14) When the end of our race nears, there will be a prize that we will obtain. This prize is not earthly, but spiritual. We will receive crowns for what we did on this Earth. Several crowns are mentioned in the Word of God.
We should run well, run with a purpose, run in a different direction than the world, run with patience and run with our eye on the prize so that we will not be counted as a castaway, one who did not finish strong, or one who did not get the prize. Every Christian can be a winner for God. We are so wrapped up in our self that God and the things of God are put on a different shelf. Paul said that in the race he was running he was fighting himself to stay in the race. There are many people who are injured, sidelined, and spectating. They got selfish, they got discouraged, they got bitter or whatever it might be, they are now out of the race. They won’t receive the prize.
I think the greatest accolade to receive from Almighty God will be to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” That I pleased my Heavenly Father, ultimately above all else, will be worth it all.
If Christ would come back right now, would you receive the prize, based on your life and present actions? He can come back at any moment. Are we running the race to “Inspire a Generation?” It could be your generation, the one before you, or the ones behind you.
You will “Inspire a Generation,” whether you like it or not. Everyone is watching you to see what you will do in the good times and the bad times. How will you respond to life? How will you “Inspire” others? Christian, run well! Run with a purpose! Run in a different direction! Run with patience! Run with your eye on the prize! “INSPIRE A GENERATION” for God!
Heritage Baptist Church