April 13, 2016
WOFCF Bible Explosion
Our Future Depends On Our Outlook
(1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1)
Point #1 To grow as a Christian you’ve got to be in a race
If our outlook is, “Well, we’ve done pretty well,” then this is probably all we’ll do. But our futures will look totally different if we say, “Thank You, Lord…but where’s the rest? There’s got to be more! Satan’s most successful trick is to get us to race to false finish lines. He works tirelessly to get us to stop short and say, “We made it!” He delights when he sees us fall or pull over to the wayside only to notice at the last moment that the finish line is still ahead. The apostle knew of what he spoke when he said, “I press toward the mark, forgetting those things that are behind.” (Phil. 3:13-14)
Let’s think of participating in a marathon. You don’t win these races if you don’t enter them. Winners are a determined bunch. Winners don’t just jog for exercise; they’re into it all the way. They read articles about running; they learn to balance their diets; they set goals for themselves; they train and push themselves toward those goals. Several times in the New Testament the Christian life is pictured as a race. Apostle Paul uses that analogy to describe his own spiritual experience. In so doing, he gives us some basic principles for spiritual growth or, to use the athletic analogy, how to get into shape spiritually so that we can run to win the race set before us.
Point #2 To grow as a Christian, you’ve got to have the proper attitude
Any athlete will tell you that attitude is often the difference between victory and defeat. A team that lacks in raw talent can sometimes defeat a team with much more ability because they have the right attitude going into the game (i.e., NCAA’s “March Madness” Basketball Tournament). Attitude is crucial in the spiritual life as well.
Since the theme of Philippians is joy, there is a definite correlation between attitude and joy. Two strands of Paul’s attitude come through in these verses: He views Christian growth as a lifelong process, so he has a long-haul attitude; and, he views Christian growth as the kind of thing where you never can say, “I’ve arrived,” so you have to keep moving ahead.
Point #3 Christian growth is a lifelong process
Christian growth enables us to build a stronger faith in God; solidify our virtue (moral goodness); gain more knowledge with experience; fortify Brotherly love (active generosity & charity toward others); to be gracious and patient with one another and the list goes on…
The Christian life isn’t a 100 yard dash; we need the mentality of a long-distance runner if you’re going to make it. Many of us may have been Christians for numerous years, but we can’t start thinking, “I don’t need to grow anymore” and stop running. Long distance runners have to compete the entire course; they can’t decide after many miles that they’ve run far enough…they must complete their courses.
We have the tendency to want quick fixes and easy answers to difficult problems. There is no quick, easy, instantaneous way to get in top physical conditioning. You have to work at it everyday, and the day you stop is the day you start going downhill. Olympic champions who retire do not stay in shape the rest of their lives because of their former training. They have to keep working out all their lives. It is the same spiritually.
How can a Christian know how much (if any) to delve into the past? Do we need to work through “repressed” memories, etc.? Support your answer biblically.