How Not to Win the Spiritual Race
And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you.”
—1 Samuel 13:13
The moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are enrolled in a spiritual race. One of the mandates of any competition is that we play by the rules or we will be disqualified. This is true in every race, but perhaps especially in the spiritual one.
First Samuel gives us the story of King Saul, a man who did not play by the rules. He began his reign in victory and ended in humiliating defeat. He lost his character, power, crown, and in the end, his very life. Based on Saul’s life, let me share a few principles on how not to win the spiritual race.
Ignore the Little Things. Saul’s failure was not immediate, but then pride turned into envy, and he ignored what God had plainly told him to do. Likewise, it is not for us to pick and choose what parts of the Bible we like and don’t like. We are to obey God even in the smallest matters, because “small” sins turn into big sins. They certainly did for Saul.
Never Take Responsibility for Your Actions. More than once Saul blamed others for his own bad choices (see 1 Samuel 13:11–12). Saul just wanted to save face. He forgot that no matter what, God knows the truth.
Don’t Get Mad, Get Even. Saul’s animosity ultimately destroyed him. He became jealous when God anointed and began using David, the young shepherd boy. We need to understand God chooses whom He will choose. Don’t let hatred make destroy you.
God has given you, like Saul, potential. He has given you certain talents and gifts. It is up to us to run the race well and play by the rules. Don’t be disqualified. Don’t be prideful. Don’t play the fool. Don’t crash and burn. It is such a waste of life.
—Greg Laurie, Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners
Learn more about how to run the race of faith in Greg Laurie’s newest book, Losers and Winners, Saints and Sinners.
You’ll join Pastor Greg as he examines the lives of biblical personalities—good and bad—revealing why some fell and failed while others picked themselves up and finished strong in the spiritual race.
Copyright © 2005 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.