GODLY GOALS  (Olympic Lessons 3)   1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrew 12:2

The Olympics are all about winning.  The goal is to win by crossing the line first or getting the highest score.  It’s all about a gold medal.  Michael Phelps holds the record with 23 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals.  That’s quite an accomplishment.  In fact, winning one medal, much less a gold medal, is extremely difficult.  First an athlete must win local competitions so he gets to represent his or her country.  Then they go through a series of trials and eliminations until they make the Olympic finals.  There the best in the world face off against each other.  The difference between winning and losing is often a fraction of a second or inch.  To come away with an Olympic gold medal is the highlight of a lifetime.    The gold is the goal, but very few achieve it.

As Christians we have a goal as well.  We face stiff competition attaining it.  The competition isn’t other Christians but ourself.  Our goal is to grow in Christ-likeness (Romans 8:28-29).  We all need goals, something to work toward and to measure our progress.  Jesus had a goal – to glorify God by His life (Luke 13:32).  Paul had a goal as well: So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it” (2 Corinthians 5:9).  That wasn’t just Paul’s goal, it is “our” goal.  All of us are going for the same goal – to please Jesus.

For too many today, including Christians, their life goals focus on money, position, possessions, power, prestige, popularity or an easy life.  Everyone has something they live for.  What do you live for?  What do you think about first thing in the morning when you wake up?  Or last thing at night before falling asleep?  Dave Johnson, an Olympic decathlete, said: “Even though I may be winning Olympic medals, I believe my finest day is yet unknown — that won’t be until I stand with Jesus and He’s showing me all the things that I trust Him for now by faith.”

It’s been said that life is like climbing a ladder, working our way to the top step by step.  The challenge before us is living in faithfulness to God. That happens when we become more and more like Jesus in all we think, do and speak.  Paul said that is his goal, and he equated it to an athlete in competition for first place (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  Paul says that he, like an athlete, is running to gain the prize.

What is Paul talking about?  What prize is he referring to?  Paul says in Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  What is this prize?  Is it salvation?  No, it couldn’t be salvation for we know that is a free gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) given to everyone who just believes (John 3:16).  We don’t discipline ourself to receive it, compete for it or set everything aside to do our best to attain it.  It is ours forever at the moment we accept Jesus as our Savior (John 3:1-21).  The prize Paul refers to given to some Christians but not all.  What is it and how do we get it?  We’ll answer those questions in the next blog.

What is your goal in life?  Be honest, what do you spend most of your time and energy pursuing?  What is your default thought pattern?  Where does pleasing God fit into your life?  Thank Him for His unconditional love and mercy as He helps you grow closer to Him.



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