There are just some things worth fighting for.
What’s so dangerous about life is not the things you DO sometimes, but the things you DON’T do. The relationships you never deepen, the people in need you never serve. It’s the great prayers you never pray, the noble thoughts you never think, the adventures you never take. It’s the races you never run and the battles you never fight, the laughs you don’t laugh and the tears you don’t weep.
Scientists at Berkeley put an amoeba in an ideal environment.. perfect temperature, perfect humidity, perfect amount of light, perfect food conditions. This little amoeba had no stress, no problems, no challenges. Know what happened to it? It died. Too much comfort is lethal.
God has set a race in front of you. He has designed a purpose for you very life. It involves you at Edinboro U and with XA, clearly. This purpose is much deeper than your academics (don’t tell your mom) or your social life.
Your race, your purpose, only you can run. I can’t do it for you.
Your race, your purpose, will change not only your eternity but hundreds of others.
Your race, your purpose, is worth fighting for. It’s worth fighting the hardest for.
Hebrews 12:1 talks about the race:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Here’s the truth.
1.God knew that running the race would get exhausting sometimes.
2.And God knew that there would be distractions while we ran.
This has been an amazing year. Many of you I have watched with my own eyes, join the race for the very first time in your life. It is with great pride as we watch Jesus transform and heal your lives.
Others of you Joel and I have first hand seen you throw off the sin that so easily entangles. We have watched you make hard decisions and great sacrifices with your time, energy, your focus for the kingdom of God. We are inspired. You are heroes to this campus and this generation.
Even more of you have fixed your eyes on Jesus and even when you failed or got confused or off track or distracted, or you suffered great tragedy or persecution, you have fought hard and long to get back on course. That has been one of the most beautiful pictures of what it actually means to be a Christian that I have ever seen.
Now, its about to be summer. God has done things in your life all year and for most of you, everything changes in the summer. Some of you go back to cities and homes that aren’t as accepting or nurturing for your relationship with God. Some of you work an insane amount and wont’ have time for much else. Some of you will re connect with friends or family that may or may not hold similar values.
I want to encourage you tonight, on our last XA of this semester. This summer, keep running your race. Some things are worth fighting for. Your race, your purpose is worth fighting for. Don’t get exhausted and give up. Don’t get distracted and get off course.
God knew that running the race would get exhausting sometimes. This summer….
Don’t give up when that familiar sin, still crouching at your door after all these years, pounces again with temptation. (because…)
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Don’t give up when you feel inadequate and worthless.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:8–9).
Don’t give up when your long prayed-for prayers have not yet been answered.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30–31)
Don’t give up when you start having doubts about God.
Do not give up when you are stressed and feel the pressure.
Do not give up when the field the Lord has assigned you to is hard and the harvest does not look promising:
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
Do not give up when you feel like no one even notices or is effected by your faith.
Your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:4).
Do not give up when your reputation is damaged because you are trying to be faithful to Jesus.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account (Matthew 5:11).
Don’t give up when you have failed in sin. Don’t wallow. Repent (again), get your eyes off yourself and back on Jesus, get up and get back in the fight.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9); if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).
Jesus knows you and he set your race out for you and he understands the war. Don’t give up. Even when you’re exhausted. Don’t give up.
Jesus knew there would be distractions. There are a lot of them. Mostly in the form of Facebook.
In Hebrews 12 it says…fix your eyes on Jesus. He is the author. The one who wrote your race, the one who created the course. He is the one who knows each turn and twist and the one who can safely help you make it to the finish line.
Scripture says he is also the perfecter. That word in Hebrew means “the one who brings it to completion.” He will personally provide for you everything you need to finish the race. Through his spirit, Jesus is personally accessible every step. Even this summer when Benn doesn’t make you a funny video every week and Lindsay doesn’t lead you in worship. Jesus encourages you and empowers you and lives next to you.
Jonathan Edwards was a huge influence in 18th century America for Christ. He was a preacher, a pioneer, taking the message to people who had never heard all over. He was a key figure in the Great Awakening. He influenced the framers of the Constitution so we have religious freedom. That was part of the race God set out for him.
When Jonathan Edwards was a college student at Yale 270 years ago he wrote 70 resolutions to stir him up to run his race. He wrote down 70 things that he resolved to do so he didn’t get distracted. He read through those resolutions all the time. He prayed them and he shared them. They kept his focus. They helped him fix his eyes on Jesus.
Here are some of them:
I resolve never to do anything out of revenge.
I resolve to live, at all times, in those ways I think are best in me during my most spiritual moments and seasons – those times when I have clearest understanding of the gospel and awareness of the World that is to come.
I resolve to study the Scriptures so steadily, and so constantly, and so frequently, that it becomes evident – even obvious – to myself that my knowledge of them has grown.
I resolve to never give up, nor even slacken up, in my fight with my own corruptions, no matter how successful or unsuccessful I may be.
I resolve never to do anything which I would be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.
I resolve to find places to be charitable and give liberally.
I am so challenged by these. He made these statements as college student and that focused the race until he died. Tonight I want us to make some resolutions so we don’t get distracted. Make them and stand on them. Live in it. Fight for it. Let the truth change you and secure inside of you the person you want to be.
Then this summer live out those resolutions. Don’t wait until next fall when we’re back again together. Resolve to fight for what matters. Come back in the Fall, not lazy and tired and unchanged. But come back with vigor and strength and commitment. Come with resolutions that will not only change you but everyone who rubs shoulders with you. Come back with fire in your heart to fill this campus center wall to wall with students just like you.
1 Peter 4:11 says this…
Strive, labor, abound, be zealous, be earnest. Run like the winner runs. Be done with half-heartedness and laziness and lukewarmness. Christ has laid hold on you for this very thing. You do not do it in your own strength. You strive and labor and abound and love in the strength that he supplies so that in everything he gets the glory.