Our theme for 2016 at Impact Church is Running to Win in 2016. Why such a theme? In 1 Cor. 9:24, the Apostle Paul tells the church “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Paul is saying, Run in such a way that you will win. This is telling us that there is a way to run that leads to victory and a way to run that will lead to defeat.
The Lord does not expect us to lose, but to win. The Lord expects us to use what He has given to us, which is everything we need for life and Godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Nowhere in Scripture does the Lord instruct us to begin something with the intent and purpose of failure. In Joshua 1:1-3, we see the Lord instructing Joshua on how to run to win.
Joshua 1:1–8 (ESV) 1
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, 2
“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3
Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4
From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5
No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6
Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7
Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
The Lord is telling Joshua that Moses is dead and now get up and move! It was customary to spend a period of time in mourning over the death of someone as prominent as Moses. Is it possible that Joshua was having trouble coming out of the past and out of his mourning for what had passed and had now found himself stagnant? The Lord told Joshua to arise and go! Go where? He was to go to the place that the Lord had already promised the nation of Israel…to a land flowing with milk and honey. (Exodus 3:8). Milk and honey represents wealth and abundance. God had called His people out of slavery to Egypt and into a place of prosperity. But not only was the land a land flowing with milk and honey, it was also a land that was already occupied by the many “…ites” of the land. (Exodus 3:8)
Are we like Joshua and have we become stagnant due to our own reluctance to let the past go? Have we allowed the past to paralyze us with fear, uncertainly, low self-confidence and hopelessness? I believe in 2016 the Lord is telling us to let go of 2015 and all that would hold us back from Running to Win the race God has given to us. Just as the Lord was promising a land flowing with milk and honey (wealth and abundance), He also promises us the same…life more abundantly (John 10:10). And just as there were occupants in the land that the Israelites had to defeat, we have those same occupants in our life. We may not have a nation of people to overcome, but each of those nations represent a certain characteristic that plagues us today. If we examine each of the nations, we will see that the verbal roots for the nation are words such as “terror, lust, oppression, discouragement, idolatry, etc.” These are all of the “…ites” that we must overcome in order to take what God has made available for us. We too must overcome these same things in our own life in order to take our inheritance.
The Lord then tells Joshua how to Run to Win. He is to “be strong and very courageous” and must meditate on God’s Word day and night, not deviating to the left or the right from God’s Word. We have the same guarantee today. It is the Word of God that will lead us to victory and as we fashion our life and our thoughts around this word, we too will “make our way prosperous and make our way successful.” The Lord told that children of Israel to obey all the commandments He had given so that it might go well with them. (Deut. 4:40)
Let’s make a decision to Run to Win in 2016 and not allow the enemies of our soul to keep us out of the inheritance God has for us. Let’s keep God’s Word in front of us at all times and refuse to deviate to the left or to the right. We too will have success.
Ephesians 2:10 (AMP) For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].
The complete audio messages for this series are available on line at www.impactci.org.
Let’s Run to Win!