Like many people around the world, I enjoyed watching the recent Olympic Games. The talent and fortitude of the athletes was outstanding. Some will have returned home disappointed by their performances, but others will have been elated by their achievements, which were the culmination of many years of training, discipline and sheer hard work. Their moment of glory on the podium would not have been possible without sacrificing much in their personal lives, and without great perseverance.
The Christian life has many similarities to that of an athlete. Today’s verse speaks of running the spiritual race in such a way as to get the prize. An athlete needs to have complete focus and perseverance, and a laying down of every other distraction in life. As Christians we need to be focused on the Lord and His ways at all times, and we need to lay down our lives for Him. Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
An athlete also has an awareness of the right diet to enable maximum physical performance. For Christians we need to give similar attention to our spiritual diet, making sure that we feed on God’s word and everything that will build us up, avoiding anything that would weaken or defile us.
When Paul writes to Timothy, he again mentions athletes (2 Timothy 2:5), saying that they need to compete according to the rules. As Christians we need to live our lives according to the commands given to us by God. There are many promises in scripture which tell us of the blessings that follow obedience.
As we consider the achievements of the medal winners in the Olympics, perhaps we should take inspiration from them for our Christian lives and learn to run the race set before us with dedication and perseverance, keeping our focus totally on the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, please help me to focus on You at all times, making my relationship with You the priority for my life. Help me to lay aside everything that would distract me from You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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