Why do we love sports? The 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England begins and the world watches with bated breath as the best of the best compete for the gold. Competition is fierce as each contending nation cheers, rallies and support their teams. These are character defining times. Times when an athlete must push past their doubts and fears and reach for something beyond all they’ve hoped and dreamed of. Mental toughness, physical stamina, and clear purpose drives these talented men and women passed the point of their belief and endurance. Why do we love sports? It brings out the best and the worst of human dramas. Its irresistible challenge draws the hearts and minds of millions unlike any other sporting events. A man from a lonely country in a lonely race yearns to win and earn fame. A father sees his child fend off all his opponents, stifle the incredible pain and failure then keep running well after the race has ended. All eyes are on him the brave one who fought and limped on.
For me. I love the competition, the sports, and the striving towards excellence. Most of all, I love watching because I relate to them on a smaller scale. Like winning the battle with my toddler or overcoming the temptation of chocolate cake or comforting a friend. It’s this life that I love. It’s God that I love. The Olympics are a small mirror of that drama.
What about God? Is He involved with what I love about the Olympics?
Imagine it: The arena of this world and in the bleachers sit the Heavenly hosts. God sits on His throne, the devil is down in his pits. They both watch the games with great passion and interest as the spiritual athletes take the field. Will the child of God overthrow his opponent? Or will he taste the dirt of failure? In the Old Testament it was always about the warrior, the battle and the fight. After Jesus Christ died and God triumphantly raised him from the dead, God won that war. Then He spread out the winnings on the day of Pentecost and now all of us, by believing Romans 10:9-10 can partake in them. Time and again the New Testament states that we’re in a spiritual competition. The Devil is already the loser but if he can keep you from knowing, believing and understanding your winnings via the gift of holy spirit. He’ll keep you down and defeated personally. Make no mistake, he has already lost. Chains wait for his judgement day.
Now, you as a believer have a decision to make. Is this your time? Are you going to walk into that arena and give every ounce of believing, discipline and humility to the games? God wants you to win! But you need to know what you’re getting into.
As the week of the Olympics marches forward, you and I will explore the dominating factors of spiritual athletes, as referenced through the seven church epistles. Great learning waits for us, but also the mastery of the contest. An Olympian wouldn’t wait till after he ran the race to decide what time he wanted to run it in. So we must also as spiritual athletes have the discipline and goals to reach the bema. (Bema is the three-tiered stand where the awards for bronze, silver and gold metals are handed out.)
We’ll be covering the four distinctions:
- The Arena
- Our Resources
- Your Opponent
- The Purpose of the Contest
These are four distinct areas of a spiritual athlete’s contest. Tomorrow, we’ll start with; where the arena is, why we need to know about it and how we can stand the victor inside it.
I’ll leave you with this thought.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they [do it] to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” 1 Cor. 9:24-27
God bless you today!