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Viewpoint from Dave Weeks 03/06/11

Dave Weeks
Pastor, City Church Great Yarmouth
To run or not to run...
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It would appear that over 1million people have applied for tickets to watch the 100m final at next year’s Olympics in London. To see Usain Bolt running against the world’s top 100m runners is a mouth-watering thought, with the very real possibility of seeing history in the making with a new world record being set. The atmosphere will be electric as the athletes take their marks. As the gun goes off these athletes will strain every ounce of power from their muscles as they hurl themselves over the start line and head for that winning line. The crowd noise will be deafening
Imagine now, what would happen if they all suddenly stopped running, and then declared to each other, “Wow, that was the best start I have ever made. I have never come out of the blocks as fast as that before. And what an event to make my best start in, the Olympic Games 100m!” They could all be patting each other on the back for their amazing starts!
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It would be ridiculous, of course, that that should happen. But sadly, this can easily happen with people who become Christians. The danger is that we can get over the start line by making a commitment to Christ, but then falter, and don't finish the race. Although I have used the illustration of the 100m race, in reality the Christian life is more like the hurdles! We can be running along well, but then we hit a hurdle, maybe even falling over as we do so. Something in life causes us to fall and we end up flat on our back on the track. And there we stay! However, remember this: falling over is not failure, failure is not getting up again
In Acts 20:24 Paul says “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me”. In 2 Tim 4:7 towards the end of his life, he writes, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”
Unlike the 100m, the Christian life is not a competition. We are not in competition with each other. We are not in competition as churches. God's desire for us is that we finish the race. You may be thinking you have failed too much, and have even disqualified yourself from the race. NOT SO! God's grace is sufficient for each one of us, no matter what our failures may have been. If we come to Jesus, confessing our failures, the Bible tells us 'He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness'
So why not today, if you have stopped running the race, get before God, tell Him you are sorry and determine to start running for that finish line once again. And however any of us are running, lets remember the words in Hebrews 12:1 ..let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
The words we need to hear when we finish our race are not “You've won!”, but, “Well done, good and faithful servant – you have finished the race set before you”