Mature Class Study, teacher Josh Olmsted.

We see the start and end of a race but may ignore check points. We need patience to run and to be certain how we run.

I Corinthians 9:26-27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

A study in 2016 about New Year resolutions said 41% of people made resolutions but only 9% were successful. That’s a very low success rate! When we get saved, we have heaven in mind and don’t see the big valley or cliff we have to get through. New Year goals may be to get healthy, get in shape, or save money. Our goals to start a race may include making it to the end and gaining heaven. Step 1 is to believe and be saved. We talk about physical things that can show spiritual things people will understand. We have to be prepared, have realistic goals, and track because it’s a long race.

Reasons for failure to achieve goals:

  1. Setting unrealistic goals. Someone might set a goal to fast 3 times a week for the rest of their life. That’s going to be hard to do. If goals are unrealistic, you will fail. Jesus told the story of the seeds in which one sprung up immediately. But it had no root so it withered and died when the sun came up (Matthew 13:3-8).
  2. Not tracking your progress.
  3. Writing things down. This shows the goals, achievements, and makes us accountable.
  4. Forgot. The Israelites set up a pillar of stone for remembrance after they crossed the Jordan. They quickly forgot where they came from and what God had done, so they started worshiping false gods again.
  5. Too many resolutions. When someone gets saved, they may have the resolution to be the perfect person and have 15 goals to accomplish by tomorrow. When they have trouble getting 3 goals accomplished, they get discouraged and may start blaming others for not succeeding.

Three areas will help us grow by our goals: accountability (measurable goals), persistence (intentionality, grit), and consistency. Companies have visions and mission statements. They must have measurable steps-goals to be accountable and successful.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

To be accountable, we need a vision. We can’t be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) unless we have experiences. From a parenting standpoint, Josh said he’s weak and needs patience and understanding. His children have different personalities which he says is challenging to know how to deal with them at times. At work he has patience to deal with the people without making them feel small or insignificant. If Josh is like a tyrant to his children, it won’t matter what they hear at church. Having the patience and understanding for his children is important! Josh needs to do specific things to improve.

Change is not easy but difficult. When we’re first saved, we don’t get everything at once. We may have a perception of all or nothing. God gives us milk at first. He won’t stuff meat down our throat but he does expect us to grow. A New Year resolution to get in shape can’t have a goal to run 5 miles a day. We have to gradually add one step at a time that is realistic. “Smart” is an acronym that stands for: Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time sensitive. (The term was first used in November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.) God won’t put someone at the front of the battle when they haven’t handled a sword. David hadn’t proved Saul’s weapons so he wouldn’t use them against Goliath. We have to prove and prepare for things. Jesus said “thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things…enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21). The ones who finish their race are specific and intentional in their purpose. Serving means doing something. Coming to church isn’t for looking at others to find their faults. That causes divisions. When we talk to others, they may be uncomfortable if we bring up the subject of God. They aren’t interested. We have to be intentional about what we’re doing to be diligent. We have to be thoroughly exercised so we have faith and confidence in what God is doing. We can ask God to search us, know our heart, and to see if there’s any wicked way in us.

II Peter 1:5-7…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

We have to be persistent. God knows what we can do, but we have to apply ourselves. We don’t run without knowing what we’re doing. We have to check our progress to measure how we’re doing and actually be a contender in the race. If God gives us a talent but we bury it, we won’t put in the time to invest or progress in our race. Sometimes there’ll be injuries or shortcomings that we need to overcome. If there’s a cliff, we need a bridge to cross it. We need to see so we can cross over. When we start out, we’re given what we need. Crossfit is a sport for the best athletes. Josh did a Crossfit warm up of 20 minutes with his sister that included an 800 meter run, 200 meter sprint, 600 meter run, and 400 sprint. You can’t jump from point A to the end without putting in the work. When Peter said to add, it’s important to our progress that we add to our experience. If someone halts, we need to encourage them. In one Crossfit race, the guy running it told a man who had just run 3 miles to go back and do it again. The Crossfit sport takes incredible grit and perseverance. We have to be flexible to hear God and do what he asks us to do in our spiritual race. Sometimes things don’t seem like they’re worth it. It proves out at the end that it was worth it. God works all things for our good and he’s looking at eternity. We gain experience we can share to help others. We have to be persistent by specific goals, like talk to a neighbor or volunteer in a work.

I Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

Consistency is important. There’s a saying, Consistency over time equals results. We could say shows grit. It’s important to know what you’re trying to achieve, to review it, and measure it. It’s not a sprint out the gate where you wear yourself out and then don’t have any gas in your tank to finish. Know and do the basics – do them well. Know there are times of recovery. Be consistent to build strength, recognizing that we have no control over our physical limitations. Set specific and measurable goals. Make sure goals are attainable and relevant, and then work on those goals. If someone isn’t as strong as we are, go back and help them so they’re encouraged to finish.