“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.“
I Cor. 9: 24-25
Wow, it’s been quite a work out, I am completely out of breath, and I need some serious recup time….from all the Olympics we’ve been watching!
Along with the sporting events, I really love the personal stories that chart the courageous journeys of various athletes: each story is different, but the similarities are noteworthy—their road to the Olympics was not easy, filled with intense training, focus, sacrifices, hurdles (literal and figurative), races won and lost, aches, pains, and sheer exhaustion.
A little Citi commercial captures the discipline unseen to the cheering crowds:
“Take a day off? I can’t take a morning off.”
“I haven’t ordered dessert in two years.”
“I haven’t watched TV in months.”
And I wonder why I’m no Olympian
But I am in a race. And God’s Word reminds me that I’m pressing on for a prize much greater than a gold medal, of more value than huge commercial endorsements, and more enduring than world fame.
Jesus, my Redeemer and Saviour, is my Prize.
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:12
His worth is beyond compare and His value, priceless.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16, 17
No fireworks, TV coverage, or anthems play as we press on to Him. But, hey, we do have a cheering squad!
“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 us run 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
If we falter, stumble, or lose ground along the way, we have a loving Father who will pick us up and carry us across the finish line.
“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy….” Jude 24
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12
My favourite part? There are no losers! Everyone in Christ wins!
“Now there is in store 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 longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
And finally, there is no room for pride in this race. Humility is the winning characteristic.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” I Peter 5:6
The journey of a Christian is not easy. It is a lifelong,uphill climb; often met with more jeers than cheers. And it requires as much diligence and discipline as we see demonstrated in the most inspiring of Olympians.
Please, join me, in the challenge, so we can encourage each other as we…
“….press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14