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Put on Your Running Shoes - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
September 7, 2021 2:00 am

Put on Your Running Shoes - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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September 7, 2021 2:00 am

Paul pictured the believer as an athlete competing in a footrace pushing toward the finish line. In the message "Put On Your Running Shoes," Skip shares how you can have the dedication and collaboration needed to do well in the race of the Christian life.

This teaching is from the series Technicolor Joy: A Study through Philippians .




This week's DevoMail:


Can you imagine a runner trying to go forward one direction while looking that way the whole time? What's going to happen?

Fall flat? You can't run the Christian race always thinking about your past. And so he says forgetting those things. Now in the Bible, forget doesn't mean to lose your memory.

It doesn't mean a failure to recall. It actually means don't let it influence you. And it says forget about it.

Forget about it. It means don't let that past influence your present. Paul encouraged believers to stand firm, let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip shares what it truly means to give your all as you pursue Christ. Now we want to tell you about a resource that shines light on the rapidly shifting landscape of the Middle East and why this impacts you. The beating heart of Bible prophecy is the land of Israel and the Middle East. Joel Rosenberg has his finger on the pulse of the world shaking changes happening right now. And he unveils them in his new nonfiction book, Enemies and Allies. This is the first book of its kind that takes you inside the Oval Office, inside the palaces of the kings and crown princes, the presidents and the prime ministers, in Israel and in the Arab world as we ask them, what do you think about religious freedom, about making peace with Israel, about the threat from Iran, about U.S.-Arab relations, U.S.-Israel relations. Enemies and Allies from multiple New York Times best-selling author, Joel Rosenberg, takes you on an unforgettable journey inside the turbulent Middle East. You'll go behind closed doors to hear from the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the charge. Enemies and Allies includes exclusive, never-before-published quotes, insights and analysis from the author's conversations with some of the world's most controversial leaders. Your hardcover copy of Enemies and Allies is our thanks for your generous gift of $35 or more today.

To give, call 800-922-1888 or visit Okay, we're in Philippians chapter 3 as Skip Heitzig starts today's study. Few athletes are good at multiple sports and it's best they have discovered that they concentrate on one thing. Nehemiah in the Old Testament understood this principle. When he came to Jerusalem, he came to do one thing, to build the wall. There was a lot of other things that required his attention, but he didn't care. He focused on one thing. He was tempted to meet with different people who wanted to voice their concerns, meet with enemies who wanted to have private meetings with them, and here is his response. I am doing a great work. I cannot stop to come down and meet with you.

To which they probably thought, how rude. I need to meet with Nehemiah. I need to talk to Nehemiah. Nehemiah said, no, I'm about one thing and that is building this wall. One of the greatest problems we all have in life is that we tend to spread ourselves so thin and we fail to be effective at one thing. E. Stanley Jones, the great missionary and theologian, said, your capacity to say no will determine your capacity to say yes to greater things. I've discovered that no is a holy word. Skip, can you do this? No. Why not?

Because I'm doing that one thing. So picture this. College class in a business college. The professor wants to teach time management to his students. So he goes up to the lectern on a class day and he says, class, we're going to have a quiz. He reaches down, gets a gallon, largemouth, mason jar, sets it on the lectern. Then he takes about a dozen fist-sized rocks and places them inside the gallon mason jar, filling it all the way up to the top.

The students watch him. The professor then said, students, is this jar full? And they said, yes. He said, really? He reached down, took a little bucket of pebbles and began to pour the gravel, the gravel pebbles over the rocks. The rocks, the pebbles found the spaces between the large rocks and he did that, filled it all the way up to the top. And then he asked them again, is the jar full?

Well, they were catching on by now. They said, no. And he said, good. He reached down again.

This time he took sand and poured the sand over the pebbles and over the large rocks all the way up to the brim and it held quite a bit. And he asked again, he goes, class, is the jar full? And they all in unison said, no. And he said, good. This time he reached down, took some water and a pitcher and poured the water till it went all the way up to the top. Now, he said, do you understand what my point is in this little analogy?

And one very energetic student said, yes, that no matter how full your schedule is, you can always fit more in. He said, no, that is not the point of this exercise. The point is this, if you don't put the big rocks in first, you'll never get them in the first place.

You'll never get them in at all. He was teaching them time management and the priority of putting first things first. So for Paul the Apostle, Jesus Christ and his will for his life, those were the big rocks. That came first. I'm going to place those first. Everything else takes a back seat.

So my question is, what things do you need to say no to so that you can keep what he has for you? Because the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. So a winner needs dissatisfaction, a winner needs concentration. A third essential is that a winner needs direction. Back again to verse 13, brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but one thing, and here it is, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching where?

Forward, moving forward to those things which are ahead. Over the years you've heard me quote a book called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. It's become a Christian classic. I've just loved the title. A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.

I thought that just epitomizes the Christian life. However, I might add by saying you need not just a long obedience in the same direction, you need a long obedience in the right direction. Because you can go a long distance in the wrong direction. A few years ago in 2013, January, a 67-year-old Belgian woman by the name of Sabine Moreau drove to Brussels, Belgium, 90 miles away to pick up her friend. She entered the GPS coordinates in her little unit, and then she drove and drove and drove all the way to Croatia, a thousand miles away, crossing five international borders, stopping for gas, stopping to rest, stopping for gas, and she drove and drove.

Then she got to Zagreb, Croatia, the capital, and she thought, you know, I think I should turn around. She'd been going a long time in the wrong direction. You need to make sure you're traveling on the right road, in the right direction.

So Paul is reaching forward, or reaching ahead, to what he calls later on the upward call, or the heavenward call. Now to do that effectively, notice what he says, forgetting those things forgetting those things which are behind. To run effectively into the future, you need to let go of your past. You need to let go of it. Can you imagine a runner trying to go forward one direction while looking that way the whole time? What's going to happen?

Fall flat? You can't run the Christian race always thinking about your past. And so he says forgetting those things. Now in the Bible, forget doesn't mean to lose your memory. It doesn't mean a failure to recall. It actually means don't let it influence you. When it says forget about it, forget about it. It means don't let that past influence your present.

Here's an example. God says in the Bible, their sins and their iniquities I will remember no more. That does not mean that God has a bad memory, that his memory laps. It simply means that he no longer is influenced by their past in dealing with them in the present.

He doesn't hold their sins against them any longer. So your past is your past. All the king's horses and all the king's men can't put your past back together again. You've fallen, you've blown it, you've made mistakes.

Okay, leave it, learn from it, and go forward forgetting those things which are behind. If there's one person in the Bible that epitomizes this better than anybody else, it's Joseph. Joseph had been maltreated by his brothers.

They were jealous. They sold him to the Midianites. The Midianites took him to Egypt. He was falsely accused. He spent time in jail.

You know the story. Eventually he becomes the second most powerful man in Egypt. And the day comes when his brothers meet him face to face. The day when Joseph could have looked at them and thought, you guys have been waiting for a long time for this day. And now you're going to get yours.

No, Joseph had forgotten the past. And he said to them, but as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day to save many people alive. If you want to be miserable, live your life looking back over your shoulder. If you want to live well, look forward, reach forward, forget the past. So you need dissatisfaction, concentration, you need direction.

A fourth essential is dedication. Verse 12, you'll notice what he says, not that I've already attained nor am already perfected, but I, notice the word, I what? I press. I press on. I press on that I may lay hold of Christ or that which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.

Verse 14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. The idea of press means I exert myself. I work up a sweat.

So think of the Olympics when the camera zooms into the face of the runner, sweat pouring down his or her face. They're grueling. Look, am I doing all right? Is that grueling enough? You can see they're pressing, man. They're working hard.

They're exerting themselves, every fiber of their body, every bit of their strength. But there's something else I want you to see how this fits. The word he uses for press, twice, I press, I press, is the same word he uses back in verse six. So look at verse six for a moment. He's describing his previous life. He's going through the little litany of his pedigree. And in verse six, he says, concerning zeal, persecuting the church. You see that? The word persecuting is the exact same word as I press, I press.

It's the word dioko or diokon. And so here it's translated, I persecuted the church. Now he's saying I press. What he is saying is this, the same word as I press, I press, the same energy that I once put into ruining the church, I now put into running the church. The same level of energy I had before I was an unbeliever at all the stuff I was into, I expend now in the right direction. No one becomes a winning athlete by attending lectures from the coach or looking at YouTube videos.

At some point you've got to actually get on the track and train and exert and press to be a winning athlete. I wonder if our lives would be different. If we put as much dedication into our spiritual life as we put into golfing, fishing, shopping, social media, I wonder if it would be any different at all.

Oh no, it'd be the same. Pulsing all of the energy I once put into that, I now put into this. I press, I press.

And what does he press for? He says the prize, verse 14, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus. Now in the amazing race they got a million bucks for the prize. In the Olympics 2000 years ago, you know what they got for winning the race? They got a plant stuck on their head. Now they got a piece of ivy, an ivy branch made into a little crown, like it was a little laurel wreathed crown. They put the crown on the head and everybody went awesome, good job, see you, bye.

You got a plant, go home. What kind of a prize do we get? A two-fold prize. The prize of knowing our life purpose, verse 12. He says that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. I'm pursuing, says Paul, the reason for which Christ once pursued me. I want to know why I was saved on the Damascus road and fully realize in my life the reason that I'm on this earth.

That's the idea. I want to lay hold of that for which he's laid hold of me. So it's been said the two greatest days of your life are the day you were born and the day you discovered what you were born for. There's a real prize into knowing why I exist on this earth.

What is God's plan for my life? The second prize is the prize of knowing eternal joy, verse 14. He calls it the upward call or the heavenward call in Christ Jesus.

He's called to glory. One day you're going to cross the ultimate finish line by death or by rapture and you're going to be met there by your coach Jesus who will receive you into his eternal home. That's a good prize.

The prize of knowing why I'm here on the earth and the prize of eternal joy in heaven. So you need dissatisfaction, concentration, direction, dedication. Finally you need collaboration.

Collaboration. Look at verse 15. Therefore, let us, I'm going to emphasize a few words here, as many are as mature have this mind and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. Let us be of the same mind. So he's writing to the Philippians including them in the running now.

Us, we, us, us. Now we don't exactly know what Paul was referring to and he says look there's people who think otherwise but God will reveal this to them. It could be that he was talking to them about Judaizers, perfectionists who said you can by your own works become morally perfect or on the other hand some commentators think there were Christians who had grown apathetic, they'd sort of gotten off the racetrack, they're in the bleachers, they said I've fallen enough times, I'm just going to let go and let God. I'm not going to exert any energy, I'm just going to mosey my life through, maybe attend church from time to time and hope I go to heaven. So Paul says if they think otherwise, I trust that God is big enough to reveal that to them.

But the point I want to make is the usage of the word us and we, us and us. And here's the truth, runners do better with other runners. You can run alone and you can train alone but you will always do better, you will up your game so to speak when you have other runners who are there to inspire you, encourage you, train you by the way they run, hold you accountable, come on pick it up, you can do a little bit better than that. You'll always do better with other runners.

Now some believers have gotten off the track altogether, they're thinking is you know what, I've tried it, I'm not good at the Christian life, I've stumbled, I've fallen, so now I'm just going to be a spectator from the side of the track watching you guys run. And not only will I watch you guys run but if you don't run very well I'll criticize the way you run. Because I'm really because I'm really good at observing how people ought to live.

I can't do that myself and I won't but I'll make sure you know that you didn't do it right. So that's how Americans do sports by the way. One sports fan said, sports like baseball, football, basketball and hockey develop your muscles.

That's why Americans have the strongest eyes in the world. All right, we're good at watching, we're good at being a spectator and we're the dude who says if that guy strikes out you're a loser. Well we eat our popcorn and the batter gets struck out.

Well he's on the field buckaroo, you're not. So put on your running shoes, get in the race or for some of you get back on the track and stay on track. And just keep going, oh but I've fallen, it's okay just just keep going. Oh but I'm disqualified, just get up and keep going.

I'm going to close with the most fascinating illustration and by the way a true story. Did you know that the world's longest and toughest race is an ultra marathon that is 543.7 miles? Running 543.7 miles. It's the ultra marathon that begins in Sydney, Australia and ends in Melbourne, Australia. So in 1983, 150 world-class athletes converge on Sydney to begin this race.

They're in shape, man they got the gear on, you can look at them with these guys are super fit. Up walks, into the crowd walks a 61 year old toothless potato farmer, shepherd potato farmer, 61 years old, no teeth, overalls, galoshes over his work boots and he comes walking up and people thought okay he's a local guy to watch the race. Oh no no no no no no no no no no no no no he wants to run the race. He walks up to the table demands a number and they looked at him like you got to be kidding right?

I mean you won't make it a mile. They give him number 64 and the gun goes off. Now his name was Cliff Young. Cliff Young, here's the backstory, grew up on a farm, 2000 acre farm and was in charge as a young guy of watching out and keeping in check 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres.

On that farm they did not have four-wheel drive vehicles, they didn't even have horses. When storms came in, Cliff would go out there and run to herd those sheep. It sometimes took him two to three days of running around out there to get them all where they need to be. So the race begins. Cliff Young starts the race, gun goes off. Now when he begins, everybody starts laughing because this is how they described it. He looked like he had this leisurely odd shuffle. That's how he was running. This is Cliff Young running 500 miles in galoshes over work boots, this leisurely odd shuffle.

That's how they described it. Okay, five days, 15 hours, four minutes later, Cliff Young shuffled across the finish line in first place. He won the race. Now he didn't win it by a few seconds, he didn't win it by a few minutes. The nearest runner behind him was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him, almost 10 hours behind him.

Pray tell, how did he win this race? Well, to run this ultra marathon, the runners had been conditioned to run 18 hours. 18 hours. Some of us can't run 18 minutes. They would run 18 straight hours and then go to sleep for six hours. Do that for five days.

18-6, 18-6, 18-6. That's how they trained. Well, nobody told Cliff Young. So he ran straight without sleeping for five days, 15 hours, and four minutes, and crossed the finish line in first place, became a national hero. Interestingly, professional runners began to study and experiment with Cliff's shuffle. How did he do that? That's like the weirdest thing ever.

He won doing that. And so they started studying it. Many long-distance runners now have adopted it for its aerodynamic and energy efficiency. Go figure. What's my point? Victory comes by endurance. Hebrews chapter 12, let us lay aside every weight and sin that easily besets us and let's run with endurance the race that has set before us.

The Christian life is not a hundred yard dash. It's not even a marathon. It's a marathon. It's a marathon. It's a marathon. It's a marathon. It's a marathon. It's a marathon. It's not a hundred yard dash. It's not even a marathon.

Baby, it's an ultra marathon. And if all you got is this, that's okay. Just keep doing that.

I mean, you don't have to impress us with Nike and all this kind of cool stuff. Just do that. Just keep going. That wraps up Skip Heitzig's message from the series Technicolor Joy. Now, here's Skip to tell you about how you can keep encouraging messages like this coming your way as you help connect others to the gospel. The Bible is full of promises by a promise keeping God. And our goal is to share all those promises with friends like you to encourage and strengthen you in your faith. That's why we make these Bible teachings available to you, but we rely on listener support to make that possible. So if this ministry has blessed you, I'd like to invite you to be a partner in keeping these messages coming to you and others.

Here's how you can give to connect many more people to God's Word. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast all burdens on His Word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 07:53:16 / 2023-09-03 08:02:38 / 9

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