“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
The biggest problem with the verse above is that it is a past tense action instead of present-tense action. God said, “Ye did run well…” This is a past tense action when God desires present tense activity. God is not against what you have done in the past, but He is more interested in what you are doing in the present because the present affects the future.
You will notice in this verse that God is not condemning you for running in the past. My friend, when you used to run in the Christian race, there was nothing wrong with the race when you ran. So, why is there something wrong with the race now? It is amazing how many people criticize what they used to do for God, but when they were “doing” for God they didn’t have a problem with how they did it. If what you did in the past was good then, it is still good today.
Moreover, your past running for God doesn’t excuse your present sitting. What you did in the past does nothing for you now. Church pews are filled with believers who used to do something for God, and all they have to talk about is what they used to do. You cannot save a nation or reach a city for Christ if every person talks more about what they used to do than what they are presently doing. What is the reason that people stop running?
First, they stop running because of a who. The verse above asks, “…who did hinder you…” The greatest reason people stop serving God is because they had a friend or an influence who pulled them away from doing what they are supposed to be doing. You never knew there was something wrong with how you ran until somebody told you that running for God was bad. Satan’s tactics to get people to do wrong never changes. Eve never knew there was anything wrong with how they lived until Satan used the serpent to beguile her into believing that what God wanted her to do was “bad.” I have a question for you; why is it that you will trust someone who criticizes what you are doing over the God who commands you what to do? Don’t you think that God cares more for you than the scorner who wants to justify their sinful and worldly lifestyle? People influence you for good or bad; therefore, you must be very careful about those you allow to influence you and to get close to you.
Second, they stopped running because of bad decisions. You will notice that the “who” caused them to “not obey the truth.” Your friends influence your decisions. Friends who are worldly influences will always influence you to make bad decisions. You can say that you make your own decisions, but every person’s decisions are always influenced by their influences.
Third, they stopped running because they never dealt with the “little sins.” Verse 9 says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Little sins always grow and influence your whole being. Every big sin always started little, but it became big by not dealing with it when it was small. If you don’t want your little sins to stop you from running, you had better deal with them while they are small.
Fourth, they stopped running because they ran in their own power. Verse 16 commands you to “walk in the Spirit.” The best way to keep running in the Christian race the way you are supposed to run is to stay filled with the Holy Spirit.