Going for Gold

Gold Medal
Like many of you, I’ve been watching quite a bit of the Olympics these last two weeks. Each day I look forward to evening approaching, to turn on the TV and watch these amazing athletes competing at the highest level of their sport.

As I’ve watched, it struck me this year more than in previous games, the level of commitment, dedication, training and sacrifice these young athletes have made in order to perform at the top of their game. We watch and appreciate the physical prowess and near perfection with which they apply their skill; but for most of us, we never see nor could we really appreciate the fact they’ve dedicated their very lives to honing these skills to run the race set before them. No, this level of performance didn’t come overnight…There’s no silver bullet.

So it is (or should be) with us in our desire to walk in Christ-likeness. Our salvation may come quickly, but our journey to walk in God’s ways takes a lifetime of dedication, training and sacrifice. Dedication to commit to know God better each day. Rigorous training by reading, studying and meditating on His Word…and so that this may be possible, the sacrificing of time and other shiny worldly things so that His call on our lives truly becomes our priority.

The question for you and me is, do we approach our training (our own discipleship) in the same way the Olympian approaches theirs? Do we commit our very lives to getting better as Christ followers each day?..To running the race with everything we have?

In 2 Corinthians 9:24 Paul says; “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run is such a way as to get the prize”. This Olympic games has motivated me to double down on my commitment. To dedicate myself more to my training and to sacrifice more of the things that don’t matter, so that I might run a better race.

I’ll do this so that one day I might win the prize…Because after all, in the following verse, verse 25, we’re told that: “Everyone that 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”.

That alone should cause us all to want to up our game.

 

 

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Landing in a Different Place

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As young kids, many of us grew up spending many a summer day on school playgrounds or in neighborhood parks. All it took was a slide, set of swings, see-saw or old fashioned merry-go-round to keep us entertained for hours.

As younger children, it didn’t bother us (or even dawn on us) that while that simple playground equipment provided hours of fun, it didn’t really take us anywhere. You can cover miles on a slide, set of swings or merry-go-round but you’ll end up landing in the same place that you started. It was only as we got a little older and perhaps, more mature that we had a desire for things with more meat to them. Things where you would know whether or not you were making progress. There was a goal, or a score or an end game of some type that you were striving for.

Our spiritual journey is (or should be) much like that. We should be striving and growing to look more like Christ each day. ¬†Read Hebrews 5:12-14. Here the author tells us that if we consider ourselves mature believers, we should be teaching, not still needing to be re-taught basic truths…That we should by now, be weaned from infants milk to solid food.

We often say that God is always moving, and that we of course, should be moving with Him. But like with the pillar of fire and the cloud found in Exodus 13:21, God’s movement and our movement with Him, is never meant to lead us back to the same place in which we started.

In other words, we should no longer be content with the slide or the swings, which always leaves us in the same place. We should be “playing” with things that challenge, inspire and transform us…We should in effect, wake up each day having moved forward; having landed in a different place; and having taken a role in encouraging¬†others to land in a different place as well.