The 2014 Olympics are underway and I can’t help but be amazed every two years at the incredible displays of strength, stamina, and talent shown in these few weeks. I look on in amazement at these people who have devoted their whole lives to a sport, or in the case of Lolo Jones, two sports. (Note to future track and field stars out there: If it doesn’t work out with running, you can always pursue bobsledding.) It shows pure determination to achieve a gold medal. Early on, these athletes made the choice that their goal was to win, to be the best, and to receive their prize. Because they knew their goal, and were determined to achieve it, their choices became fewer. They didn’t have to worry about what they were going to eat. If they wanted a gold medal, they would eat the right foods to keep their body healthy and lean. They didn’t worry about sleeping in. If they wanted a gold medal, they had to get up early. They didn’t wonder if they were going to the mall that day. If they wanted to be the best, they would be training. This level of dedication is amazing to most of us.
So what are we dedicated to? And what choices are we making to guarantee that we get our prize?
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
As Christians, we crave the hope that is promised us. We long for the perfection of Heaven. We know our reward will be infinitely more awesome than we can even imagine, but sometimes endless choices seem to overwhelm us and it feels so easy to make the wrong one. However, as Christians, we don’t have endless choices, and while the world may make that seem like a bad thing, I don’t think so. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” The only way to have peace in anything is to have a goal and to make choices with that goal in mind. Our Christianity should be the most important thing in our lives. It is what gives us eternal life and a purpose on this earth. Just like Olympic athletes, we should be asking ourselves every day, every choice, “Does this lead me closer to my goal?”
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Is getting drunk going to cause me to act in such a way that I would be embarrassed? Or worse, set off a chain of events I have no control over?
Is going to that party going to keep me out so late, I will never be able to get up for Sunday morning Bible class?
Is hanging out with that crowd going to help me form a stronger relationship with Jesus or are they going to drag me down with them?
Is going over to that guy’s house alone going to keep me out of trouble, or get me into trouble?
I hope when these situations arise, you will be able to strongly walk away, knowing that your prize is worth far more than a few moments of pleasure.
Lolo Jones has said that she felt broken after the London Olympics. She said she couldn’t understand how she could love track so much and be good at it, and it not love her back. How much time and attention are we giving to things that can’t love us back when we have a God who loves us so much, He gave His only son for us?
Most of us probably aren’t going to win an Olympic medal, but our prize as Christians is worth so much more. Our reward is peace and joy in this life, and hope of an eternal life with no tears and no sorrow.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope”