I’ve never thought I was an athlete.
Yeah, I like to go for a run every once and awhile. I can swim pretty well, and I have a sub-par sense of balance. But when it comes to the dedication, team work, endurance, self-control, and sheer will power to really love a sport, I’ve just never had it.
I’ve dreamed of it. I’ve wanted it, but that’s just not who God made me. Or is it?
I’m Fascinated By Athletes
I’ve always had a fascination for athletes. My older brothers love sports. Growing up, I watched from the sidelines and cheered my brothers on. Whether it was soccer, football, baseball, basketball, or swimming, they loved it and I loved watching them.
They not only loved the sport but they loved being team players. They loved having others counting on them to help hit a home run, make a touch down, get good time in a swim relay, or score a goal.
What If Christians Lived Like Athletes?
Maybe it’s with the recent completion of the summer Olympics in Rio. Maybe it’s the look on those Olympians faces when they pass the finish line, touch the wall, or stand still after a mind-boggling jump.
Whatever it is, it’s had me thinking. What gives those people their drive? What makes them get up in the morning for endless hours of training — and what makes them do it over and over again?
Think about the physical activity and fine tuning they make their bodies go through. Day after day, moving forward, working harder, doing better, giving more — how do they do it? How do they love something enough to give it everything they have? Everything they work for leads to one moment. All aim for the gold medal.
I’ve been thinking: what if Christians were more like Olympians? What if we had as much dedication to our Savior as Olympians have to their sport?
What if we got up everyday and spent endless hours fine tuning our hearts and minds toward the Scriptures? What if day after day we worked harder, did better, and gave more? What if everywhere we went we shared the gospel? What would happen?
All Christians are on a team. A team for the glorification of our Savior. Day after day we have to work harder, do better, and give more because that’s what we are commanded to do. We are all running a race. The race of a lifetime. We know the outcome in the end. Christ defeated the grave so that all Christians will come out the winners.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-9
But sadly, not everyone is going to be a winner.
Everyone’s clock is ticking and when the time runs out, where is your neighbor going to go? Where is your class mate going to go? Where is your work colleague going to go? Are they going to the same place you are going after the race is finished?
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:13
Olympians give everything to the love of a sport. Christians give everything to a love in Christ Jesus.
To Run the Race, You Must Remember
Sometimes I forget the important things. I forget that this life is second compared to what my whole life will be. I forget that not everyone is going to the same place I am. I forget that it is my job to tell them about that place and the Man who made it possible to get there.
To run the race with endurance, I have to remember! We all do. We have to train in the Scriptures. We have to rehabilitate in church every Sunday. We have to avoid the obstacles, jump the hurdles, and pick up the lost people along side us.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14
I know it’s scary, but think about it for a minute. Jesus died for you. He was crucified for you. He took the blame for you. He rose again for you. Now we have to go and tell people that. Yeah, it might be awkward, and, sure, we might be rejected.
But we have to remember the finish line is coming, and people aren’t ready!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
I want to ask you one question: Are you an athlete for Christ?