Sunday, March 29, 2009

How Goes The Race? Part III

Yesterday we talked about running our race with endurance, we are not to be swerved from our purpose and loyalty even by persecutions or trials, because of the parade of saints, because of the fact that the OT saints even though they suffered intense persecution like torture, death, hardship, starvation, homelessness and nakedness ran their race with success. Run your race with endurance because of the preamble to salvation, because of the fact that you have already dropped those things, considered to be weights and even unbelief that would hold you back. Great reasons to run with endurance, right? Well there is a third reason, the writer gives to exhort these readers to run with endurance and that is because of The Perfect Savior. “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” “…consider Him…” The readers are told to do two (2) very specific acts, they are to look to Jesus and they are to consider Jesus. Our writer points his readers to Jesus. He does so to use Him as the supreme example in order to run their race without failing or returning to Judaism. The word looking means to turn the eyes away from other things and to fix them on something. It can also mean to turn one’s eyes to a certain thing. Both meanings apply here in our text. To run successfully, to run with endurance takes one thing more than just realizing that the OT saints ran successfully, or that one has already thrown off the weights and sin that would keep one from running successfully, it takes a concentrated commitment to turn away from everything else and to concentrate on one thing. C. S. Lewis wrote that “there is a kind of happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” Psalm 37:4 tells us to “Delight your self in the Lord!” Nehemiah 8:10 makes it so clear, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” How do you find strength to serve, to remain faithful, to obey, or to run with endurance? By simply enjoying the Lord. When you enjoy Him that joy of owning Him as your own propels you with great energy to overcome, to be obedient, and to run with endurance. Richard Baxter said it so well when he said, “May the living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him and delighting in him may be the work of our lives." Matthew Henry said, “The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” John Piper wrote, “This is the great business of life – to put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks. I know of no other way to triumph over sin long term, than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God."
So, let me ask you, where are you looking this morning? Where do you find delight and pleasure? Are you gazing intently to Jesus? Or, are you occupied with other things? You know, when He gave us Himself, He gave us the best that He could give us.
Why do you look anywhere else for anything else?

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