Every two years something exciting happens and people all over the world tune in to see who will win and bring home a gold medal. If you don't know, it is the Olympics. It is a big worldwide athletic event that people compete in to see who is the best. Do you watch the Olympics where you live? My favorite is the ice skating competition.
While watching the opening ceremonies, I began to think about how much hard work and dedication it takes for a person to make it to this worldwide event. As Christians, I believe our gold medal moment will be hearing these words when we finally see Christ face to face, "Well done my good and faithful servant!" I think there are a few things we can learn from athletes about going for the gold with our faith though.
1. We have to take action
Practice, practice practice- it is essential whenever you want to accomplish a great fete. You can't just decide you are going to compete in the Olympics and then sit around on your couch watching the event of your choice and hoping you will somehow absorb the talent. You have to get out there and practice yourself!
In this same way, we can't just listen to people speak about their faith and absorb it. We have to put our faith into practice!
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." James 1:22
"For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified." Romans 2:13
2. We need to be dedicated and willing to make sacrifices
A person who wants to achieve a gold medal has to be dedicated and willing to make sacrifices for their goal. They cannot go out and practice for a few months, then take a few months off, then practice a few more days before the big event and think that they will be ready. They need to be dedicated and determined. The same goes for us as Christians we need to be fully-dedicated to Jesus Christ. God does not want lukewarm followers who are only interested in living for him part-time. If we believe God's Word to be true then he deserves our best effort in all parts of our lives. Christ deserves our all because he is our all in all!
"I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."
"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. "James 3:10-12
3. We need support from others
If you have ever watched the Olympics, you will notice that people often hold up signs encouraging and cheering on the athlete of their choice. Whether you are a baby Christian or a more mature one, we all need the love and support of fellow Christians in our lives. We Are not meant to do this life alone, and God places people in our paths to help us and that we can help too.
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11
"And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
4. We must keep our eyes on the prize
The coveted prize at the Olympics is a gold medal, but our prize is worth far more than gold! In this life, it can be easy to become discouraged and see the world as nothing more than a terrible place. We must remember that God knows all of our troubles and wants nothing more than to take ALL of our burdens upon Himself. We must keep our eyes on the prize that we will receive when we take our final breath on this earth and take our place in our real home-Heaven!
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil."
"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
"knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." Colossians 3:24
"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." Philippians 3:20-21
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12:1
Are you ready to live your life fully for Christ and achieve the prize that is worth far more than a gold medal or all the gold in the world for that matter? I hope that I have encouraged you and these simple, but important goals are something that you will consider and learn more about by reading God's love letter to us!