“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.”
Wanted to share something with you today. Have you ever been to a sporting event and you see all these people on the sidelines cheering their butts off for the people on the field playing the game? Or maybe you watch a lot of games on tv, you sit in your living room and you yell at the tv so loudly it seems like the players in the game might just hear you? If you’re one of these people, that’s a good thing and there’s nothing wrong with it, it shows you have passion for the game being played, you have heart, and you want more than anything to see your team get a victory!
With all that said, I want to be honest and say that during this race so far I’ve felt like a lot of moments I’ve done a really good job at being one of these cheering fans on the sidelines but I haven’t spent as much time actually in the game! To be honest, it’s a lot easier to yell from the sidelines than actually playing the game but the truth is, this race we’ve been talking about in this new year, it has no place for fans, only players.
I want to encourage you today if you’re one of those cheering fans and tell you I get it, I’m right there with you a lot of the time but we must move, we must move from the sideline to the field because our team needs us to play the game!!! Don’t be discouraged if that’s you a lot of the times, you’ve shown you have passion, heart and the desire for your team to achieve victory!!! Those are all great qualities to have, now we just have to put those to playing instead of cheering!!
This verse from James really summed up this lesson;
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”
The easy thing to do is listen to Gods Word, to hear Him tell us of the race He has set before us to run in this life. We can fill ourselves with sermons, devotions and so many Scriptures but at the end of the day, it means nothing if we are just hearing and not doing. I love the hype and the preparing for attacking the things God has set before me, who doesn’t, but without actually attacking the race, getting in the game and playing, it is all for nothing. That’s the easy part we can find ourselves caught up in; talking the talk, doing all the right things to prepare or say but not actually trusting God and running the race in the way He has called us to.
Through all these messages to you about the race, learning all these awesome lessons and principles on how to run the race, in the midst of all that it was like I felt if I spend enough time close to the race (on the sidelines), and talk enough about it then maybe the part where I run the race would just magically happen. I know, pretty dumb right?!? But the truth is we all do it at times! We feel that if we spend enough time close to the game, cheering on all the players, planning, preparing our attack, and getting ready to be intentional then maybe that’s good enough and I wouldn’t have to actually play the game.
It’s just not true and it’s just not enough! God has called us to so much more than just being a glorified cheer leader while our brothers and sisters are on the front lines taking hits from the enemies team day after day! At some point, we have to take our good intentions and actually be intentional about carrying them out! We can only listen and talk about the truth for so long, we have to put it to action!!!
I hope you find yourself today as convicted as I am! If you are doing a really good job on the sidelines, transfer that to playing the game! Stay close to God, listen to Him and His truths, learn more about Him but also, FOLLOW HIM!!! That means physically moving, doing what you hear, applying what you’ve learned, play the game!!!
I get it if you’re scared you won’t play good enough or you’re scared of what those first steps of faith will be like, that’s normal! Just like a baby learns to move by first crawling, so do you! When you’re fresh and new to running the race, you have to start somewhere, maybe that’s just crawling and as bad as you’ll want to take off sprinting like all the seasoned, mature believers you see playing the game around you, it’s okay, you’ll get there!
That’s a big lesson we are going to dig into next week on the God Gold! How Jesus is the initiator and finisher of our faith, there’s a process of faith that takes place where we first believe in Jesus to where we live out our beliefs daily! We are going to dig into that more next week but for today I challenge you and myself to take that first step! Whatever God has been calling you to do, be intentional about your good intentions, move your hearing of truth to applying of truth, and MOVE!!! All it takes is one faithful step and Jesus will take care of the rest! No more just listening, now we listen and live the truth God tells us!!! No more sitting on the sideline cheering for others, the coach just called and he needs YOU to come into the game!!!