Friday, August 27, 2021

Don't Let Sin Slow You Down!

“We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.Hebrews 10:30

When I think of running a race with perseverance, Cliff Young comes to mind. Who is Cliff Young? An Australian sheepherder and potato farmer, of course! In 1983, Australia began hosting what was, at the time, the most grueling foot race on earth: a seven-day, 543-mile ultra-marathon stretching from Sydney to Melbourne. That’s like running from Victorville to Sacramento, hanging a left and running 85 miles to San Francisco, then topping it all off by running back-to-back marathons around the city. 

The day the Sydney ultra-marathon started, 150 world-class runners showed up. And guess who showed up to run with them: Cliff Young. At the age of 61, Cliff approached the registration table, wearing overalls and rain boots, and declared his intention to run. You see, Cliff had grown up on a farm without the luxury of a horse or a four-wheel drive. So, when the storms rolled in, Cliff had to put on his rain boots and run for two or three straight days to round up 2,000 sheep over a 2,000-acre farm. To Cliff, running an ultra-marathon sounded like another day on the farm.

When Cliff started running, spectators thought, “This must be a joke!” Because he didn’t really run. It was more of a leisurely old-man shuffle. Australians were glued to their TVs, saying things like: “Someone should stop that crazy old man before he kills himself!” But five days, 15 hours, and four minutes later, after shuffling for 543 miles, Cliff Young shuffled across the finish line in Melbourne—in first place. And he didn’t win by a few seconds, or even by a few minutes. Catch this: The second-place runner was nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. You see, during the race, Cliff shuffled along day and night with almost no sleep, until he crossed the finish line. And the 61-year-old sheepherder who defied all odds became a national hero.

If Cliff Young can persevere through a 543-mile ultra-marathon, you and I can certainly persevere in our lives as Christians. One of the keys to running a gold-medal race for Jesus is, “Don’t sin.” Sin slows you down. Sin makes you weak. With that in mind, I’d like to point out three sins that slow you down and cause collateral damage in the church:

Sin #1: Unbelief. God’s word tells us in Hebrews 11:6: “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” God is deeply concerned about unbelief in His followers. No sin will stop a church dead in its tracks as quickly as the sin of unbelief. Unbelief is a spiritual cancer within a congregation. And Hebrews 10:39 tells us: “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” We are believers—not quitters. No matter what tragedies happen in your life … no matter how many people around you think you’re nuts … no matter how hard it is to hold on to your faith … don’t stop believing.

Sin #2: Unforgiveness. To me, this is one of the most troubling sins in the church today. It grieves my heart to see how many Christians hold on to bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. And Christianity is nothing without forgiveness. Do you remember what Jesus taught us to pray in The Lord’s Prayer? “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” And in case we missed it, he elaborates in Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” If you refuse to forgive someone who has sinned against you, God will refuse to forgive you who have sinned against Him.

Sin #3: Undernourishment. Even if you’ve never participated in a team sport, you know that a nutritious diet is very important for an athlete. If you don’t train well or eat well, it affects you on the playing field. The same holds true in the spiritual realm. Our number-one source of nourishment is the Bible. It is our spiritual meat. It is our living water. Yet sadly, one recent study found that only one in eight Christians read their Bible daily. Last week, how many days did you go without eating any food? I would guess—zero. But how many days did you go without eating any spiritual food? Our second source of nourishment is prayer. Every follower of Christ needs to spend time with God in prayer every day. If we don’t, we’ll be undernourished. Finally, our third source of spiritual nourishment is the church. More than ever before, Christians are not making church attendance a priority. And the results have been devastating. Hundreds of churches across America have closed their doors for good. Needs in the community are going unmet. And most tragic of all: Millions of people are NOT getting saved … because the church is AWOL.

So, please make sure that you do your part to stay well-nourished as we run this Jesus Race together. Be in God’s Word every day. Spend quality time in prayer with God every day. And if you’re physically able to attend, be in church every week. We’ve got a lot of race left to run and not much time left to run it. So, let’s each do our part to finish our Jesus Race strong … together.

Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. Please join us for our in-person worship service Sundays at 9 a.m. at 17746 George Blvd. in Victorville. Or, join us online at 10 a.m. on the Impact Christian Church YouTube channel or Facebook page. For more information, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment