October 13, 2000
The Christian life is a race, said Dr. Michael D. Dean, pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, during the chapel service at Oklahoma Baptist University, Wednesday, Oct. 11.
"As a Christian you are in the race," he said. "The challenge is to decide how you are going to run."
Dean presented the students with five necessary steps for a successful race, based on the writing of Paul in Hebrews 12.
A successful athlete and a successful Christian must be determined, he said. Dean used the word "agony" to describe the nature of the race.
A Christian must persevere through the pain and be willing to suffer.
"You may be at a point in your life when you want to quit," Dean said. "Perseverance is the difference between winning and just getting through."
As Christians, Dean explained, we are determined to persevere because we know that our lives have purpose.
"God chooses the race for us. He calls us to live a holy and godly life," he said.
Using the analogy of an Olympic athlete, Dean explained the necessity of preparation. "Just like the race is the focus of a lifetime, the Christian life is a matter of preparation," he said.
Dean asked the students to try to imagine a runner competing while wearing a backpack and boots.
"This is what Christians try to do," he said. "They want to succeed but are not willing to throw off the sin that so easily entangles."
The last step to succeeding in the race of the Christian life is inspiration, he said.
"Nobody has ever done anything extraordinary without being inspired," Dean said.
He encouraged the students to look to the Christians who have run the race before them for inspiration and also to look to Jesus Christ, who "ran his race for us."
Dean and his wife, Martha, have two daughters, Ashley and Allison, an OBU sophomore.