In my last post, we focused on our lives as being like a long Olympic race. We pursue our “prize” — a heavenly, imperishable one — with discipline, focus, and commitment. The Christian life is to be lived with the same determination and vigor as an Olympic athlete runs a race, competing for gold.
Today, though, I want to look at a Christian’s “race” from a slightly different perspective. In another sense, the Christian life applies to the daily training of the athlete, and not just what happens during the big race.
In Philippians Paul would describe his own approach to the race, “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) The original Greek language of “forgetting the past and straining forward” describes an athlete at the finish line.
The motto of the Olympics is Faster, Higher, Stronger. It communicates a constant move forward, the pursuit of athletic ideals, and of personal excellence. The Olympic Creed gives us another connection to the Christian faith: the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well. It’s the constant pursuit of growth and giving one’s best that exemplifies the heart of the Olympics.
The Christian spiritual life begins with a decision to join the race, to fight the fight, and to begin the journey. To be a Christian starts with a decision to believe that God is, and to trust that Jesus Christ is his Son who reveals to us God’s will, and who suffered and died and rose again. Jesus calls us to follow him, and he offers himself to save us from ourselves and from our sin. This is the most important decision we make in life.
You make a choice as to what you will do with your life. You can be a spectator. You can pursue a different race – pursuing your crown of celery, or pine needles or olive branches – a perishable crown that will not last.
Or you choose to run the race God has set before you.
What do you choose today?
For more about the Olympics and the Christian Life, listen to the latest sermon series, The Games: Faster, Higher, Stronger.
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