Isa 40:31 (NIV) But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
NOTE: THIS STUDY IS BASED ON THE MOVIE "CHARIOTS OF FIRE".Even if you have seen this movie before, rent or downwload it and invite some people over to watch. Without the movie, this study will not make much sense.
"CHARIOTS OF FIRE" won four Academy Awards in 1981, including best picture. The movie starts off slow, with lots of hypnotic music and people running around in funny looking clothes. But hang in there--eventually the movie provides an excellent contrast of how motivations, reasons, methods... effect us before, during, and after we strive for human achievement.
This film is based on a true story about how a Jewish athelete (Harold Abrahams) and a Christian athlete (Eric Liddell) both won gold medals in the 1924 Olympics. It is an interesting study of how two people can achieve the same glorious human prize with different motivations, reasons, and methods.
So, let us watch the film with sensitivity to the following contrasts:
|Eric Liddell||Harold Abrahams|
|Motivation||Honor to God
|Honor to Race
|Reason for Running||God Made Me Fast
|To Prove Myself
|Methods||Hope in the Lord
|Relies on Technique
|Attitude Before||Please God, not Men
|Cheat to Win
Feel His Pleasure
|Result||Gold Medal &
The Dangling Carrot: Not Fit For A Man
Prov 14:12 (NIV) There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
Goal motivation can be a "way of the world" that leads to death and dead works. Instead of "waiting upon the Lord" to be clothed with power, human goal "fixation" is used to create a self-motivation; a sort of consuming motivation that is fueled by guilt and discontent.
Phil 3:19 (NIV) Their destiny is destruction... and their glory is their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.
In goal motivation, the goal comes first, the motivation second. The goal is like a carrot we dangle in front of ourselves to create a pent-up temporary energy and power. The goal takes on a life of its own, but tends to leaves us dead and empty after we achieve it. And the cycle continues and continues. The problem is in the SOURCE of the motivation.
Motivated By The Spirit
John 4:13-14 (NIV) Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to everlasting life."
Isa 58:11 (NIV) The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Christ "In Us"
The way of the Spirit is different; not in the absence of human goals, but in the source of the motivation. For the Christian, motivation comes from within. For those whose hope is on the Lord, the motivation comes first, the goal second. We do not have to manufacture motivation by using the techniques of the world--we have the life of Christ within us.Phil 2:12-13 (Jer) ...Work for your salvation "in fear and trembling". It is God, for his own loving purpose, who puts both the will and the action into you.
Are We Willing To Set Aside Our Goals In Order To Follow Jesus?
Luke 9:23-25 (NIV) Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self?"
The goal can, and often does, change. For our "race" is not merely a human one, and we are led by the Spirit.John 3:8 (NIV) "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You may hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."
Let's Make Sure We Are Running The Right Race!
Rev 3:17-18 (Jer) "You say to yourself, 'I am rich, I have made a fortune, and have everything I want,' never realizing that you are wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too. I warn you, buy from me gold that has been tested in the fire to make you really rich, and white robes to clothe you and cover your shameful nakedness, and eye ointment to put on your eyes so that you are able to see."
1 Cor 9:24-25 (TEB) ...In a race all the runners take part in it, but only one of them wins the prize. Run, then, in such a way as to win the prize. Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline; he does so in order to be crowned with a wreath that will not last; but we do it for one that will last forever.
Col 3:1-2 (NIV) Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
The Spiritual Race
Rom 15:4 (Jer) And indeed everything that was written long ago in the scriptures was meant to teach us something about hope; from the examples scripture gives of how people who did not give up were helped by God.
Heb 12:1-2 (Phi) Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus--the source and goal of our faith.
Phil 3:12-14 (Jer) Not that I have become perfect yet; I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upward to receive in Christ Jesus.
1 Tim 4:7-10 (TEB) ...Keep yourself in training for a godly life. Physical exercise has some value in it, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for now and for the future. This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed. That is why we struggle and work hard...
2 Tim 2:5 (LB) Follow the Lord's rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules--or is disqualified and wins no prize.
2 Tim 4:6-8 (TEB) As for me, the hour has come for me to be sacrificed; the time is here for me to leave this life. I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, I have kept the faith. And now the prize of victory is waiting for me, the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the Day--and not only to me, but to all those who wait with love for him to appear.
Acts 20:24 (NIV) ...I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
2 Cor 5:9-11 (NIV) So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men...
1 Pet 1:8-9 (Phi) And though you have never seen him, yet you love him. At present you trust him without being able to see him, and even now he brings you a joy that words cannot express and which has in it a hint of the glories of Heaven; and all the time you are receiving the result of your faith in him--the salvation of your own souls.
Eph 1:18-20 (Phi) And this is my prayer... that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make you realize how great is the hope to which he is calling you--the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to Christians--and how tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God. That power is the same divine energy which was demonstrated in Christ when he raised him from the dead...