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Christ is Enough…to Keep us Running Well – Blog and Podcast

November 9, 2018

A few years ago, I was serving as the announcer for a high school track meet. It’s something I have done a number of times and it’s always fun to get to see these students put all of their hard work on display as they compete not only against other competitors but also the clock and, in the case of field events, standards of distance for each event.

On this particular day, I began to hear talk early in the day about a particular young lady who would be racing in the 100-meter dash. She was widely recognized around the area as one of the better sprinters and it was my understanding that perhaps even a college scout or two or three might be in the stands to watch.

We took the break after the field events and as people began to come back into the press box, the talk began again. I found myself much more interested in that particular race than I thought I would be, because I thought “this girl must be something to see”.

As we approached the 100-meter dash, the stands were the fullest they had been all day. The press box had more people than it should have had. You could feel the excitement in the air. I made the last call for participants in this race and announced the lane assignments. I leaned out of the press box to get the best view of this as I looked down to see the runners doing their final stretches and getting into the starting blocks.

The starter called the runners to their marks. The runners put their hands on the line and got into their sprinter’s stance. The starter’s arms went up, he called “SET” and he fired the gun. The runners took off. This girl was in lane two. The runner in lane one, perhaps feeling the anticipation of running against this top athlete, slipped a little bit and her momentum had her lean into the runner everyone had their eye on, knocking her out of her lane and ruining her race. She tried to get it back, but there was no use. We thought her chance had passed. There was great disappointment all around.

After a consultation with the race officials and a pleading from her coach, the officials agreed to let her run in the next heat, since they all agreed she had done nothing wrong. So, the anticipation starts all over again. The runners take their marks. The starter yells “SET”, and then, it happened. This girl, feeling all of the eyes of everyone on her and wanting to get out ahead of her competition, she springs out of her stance just before the starters gun fired and she’s called for a false start. She’s disqualified. After all of the anticipation, she didn’t even get to run the race, because she lost her focus.

Paul tells the Galatians in Chapter 5… “You were running well. Who prevented you from being persuaded regarding the truth?” The Galatian church had lost their focus and had allowed some false teaching to come into the church and to disrupt them from running well.

Has that ever happened to you? Were you running well in your Christian walk at some point…until you weren’t?

Paul reveals 4 potential hindrances to running well. See if you can identify with any of these.

The first potential hindrance is “Leaving the leaven”. Verse 9 warns that “A little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough”. It only takes a small bit of yeast to make an entire loaf of bread rise. It only takes a small entrance of sin in our lives, left unattended, to spread throughout our heart and hinder our walk with Christ. We have to deal with the leaven, remove it, walk away from it, and not make the choice to allow it back into our lives. We cannot blame losing our joy, getting distracted in the race, or faltering on someone else. Ultimately, we make those choices. Let’s deal with the leaven and get back in the race.

The second potential hindrance is “Curtailing the cross”. In verse 11, Paul apparently is being accused of preaching circumcision, which abolishes the need for the cross. Paul was so disturbed by this that he wishes that those who were preaching circumcision would go ahead and have themselves castrated, take it to the next level. We can never lose sight of the fact that every blessing we have is made possible because of the cross. We must make much of the cross.

The third potential hindrance is “Freeing the freedom”. While it’s true that we are totally free in Christ, Paul cautions in verse 13 that using our freedom to fulfill the desires of the flesh is counter-productive and makes salvation about ourselves. Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Let us not use our grace as an excuse to satisfy the desires of the flesh.

The final potential hindrance is “Neglecting your neighbor”. We are told in verse 14 to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. We don’t have any difficulty in looking out for our own interests, providing for ourselves, and seeking to have all of our needs met. Paul states the same thing that the Apostle John states in I John, that the evidence that we are in the faith is that we love God and we love others. We should take the same interest in helping provide the needs of others. Praying for one another, bearing with one another, encouraging one another, and counting others more significant than ourselves are all evidences of not neglecting our neighbors.

Is there some leaven in your life that is taking over too much space? Have you lost your focus of Kingdom things?

Have you taken the freedom and grace of Christ for granted and fulfilled the desires of the flesh? Are you investing love in others? The race is far from over, for God gives us fresh starts when we need them. Get back in the race and you’ll see that the things you have been through will help make your faith deeper and stronger than ever.

Tony Watson
Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church
Palestine, TX

From → Blog Posts, Podcasts

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