I don’t spend a great deal of time watching the summer Olympics, but I have always been fascinated by them. The athletes work tirelessly to prepare themselves, both mentally and physically, to compete. They spend months, years and in some cases a lifetime in preparation for what might be a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform at sports highest level. Many of these athletes are in training facilities miles and miles away from the comforts of their friends and families. Regardless of the particular sport the athletes participate in, they all are in search of the same prize-the gold medal. The gold medal is the culmination of months and even years of hard and tireless work.
The life of the Olympic athlete parallels the life of the Christian with one exception, the Christian does not strive for a prize that is perishable, but one that is imperishable (1 Corinthians 9:25). The apostle Paul writes that believers must rigorously train ourselves for godliness (1 Timothy 4:7). The word “train” used here literally means “to exercise naked” (English: gymnasium). Ancient gyms were places where athletes would strip down so that nothing would interfere or restrict their training. Christians too, must remove anything that will interfere or restrict their spiritual growth. Christians must discipline themselves in prayer, train themselves in the Scriptures, be obedient (2 Timothy 2:5), be self-controlled (1 Corinthians 9:25), and give maximum effort, even to the point of exhaustion (1 Timothy 4:10).
I encourage you to compete in this life like the athlete who is fully committed to his/her particular sport, with your mind not on the perishable, but the imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:24, “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?
Run Christian, run!