Christians, watching the Olympics every four years is an opportunity to see the best athletes in the world compete against each other. As Christians, we can be encouraged and challenged as we watch these competitors. Some of Paul’s encouragement to the early church came from the games. Advice on how to run, compete, train, and prepare.
As I sat watching the Olympics 4 years ago with my wife, we waited the entire games for one race. This race had a runner that actually was a former friend of my wife’s in high school (they were on a national summer basketball team together). My wife said this girl trained and trained as an athlete, had years later dedicated her life to preparing for and competing in the Olympics as a runner. We watched, cheered, and were stunned in the race. The first turn of the last lap, she was in really good position and fell. Our minds could almost not believe it, as the rest of the runners went on, finished their race, recorded their time, she sat crying, pounding the track, obviously extremely disappointed.
As they posted the runners times, it was truly sad to see a DNF (did not finish) next to her name. Now to be fair, I am uncertain if she was physically capable to continue, but I was surprised that she did not get up, or at least try to finish. Later that same evening, we were watching BMX race finals. One girl crashed, hit her head (wearing a helmet) so hard. She kept getting up, trying to get on her bike, but she couldn’t even stand. She finally had an official hold her up as she walked across the finish line.
I feel that this exemplifies the Christian life: We need to finish. Many times, the race does not go how we think, sometimes the enemy trips us up, sometimes we trip ourselves up, sometimes we crash hard. Overall, we are guaranteed that God will give us the grace and strength to get back up and finish the race. I truly believe the greatest challenge we will face is to continue on, to finish the race, to not worry about others, but to run our race.
Our goals cannot be material, physical goals, but eternal everlasting goals, that no matter what happens we can finish, and in God, if you finish, you will WIN. As I saw her fall, as an old friend of my wife’s, my heart went out to her, but as a competitor, as a child of God, I thought, “get UP… continue on, finish the race!”
We need to focus on finishing, on completing the race, and making sure our eyes our fixed on the eternal prize! Jesus, we love you, we trust you, strengthen us no matter what we have been through, what we are going through, or what we are about to enter into. Give us the grace and endurance so that on the day of judgement, in YOUR record books, we never see a DNF next to our names, in your powerful name, Amen.
As I prepared this post, I went online and I found a video of this Olympic race, I wanted to remind myself what I had seen and what caused me to get this revelation. Seeing the race, reminding myself of the DNF was frustrating. I will not link that video, however, I was so surprised as to what God led me to next. Take a couple minutes, watch THIS video, and know how amazing God is: an example of how we need to live our lives.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 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 II Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)
All these many people who have had faith in God are around us like a cloud. Let us put everything out of our lives that keeps us from doing what we should. Let us keep running in the race that God has planned for us. Let us keep looking to Jesus. Our faith comes from Him and He is the One Who makes it perfect. He did not give up when He had to suffer shame and die on a cross. He knew of the joy that would be His later. Now He is sitting at the right side of God. Sinful men spoke words of hate against Christ. He was willing to take such shame from sinners. Think of this so you will not get tired and give up. Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. I Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)
written and posted by Daniel Poggensee | 2016