PRACTICED PLAYERS (Olympic Lessons 12) Hebrews 12:11
Have you watched the Olympics on TV? Have you been thinking about the parallels Paul and others have made to living the Christian life? Our start line is salvation and the finish is when we go to heaven. Our goal is to become more Christlike the closer we get to the finish line. Our prize is the crown God will give us for faithful service. Angels, demons, others and God Himself are our spectator. Our course is laid out by God and tailor-made just for us. There ae plenty of obstacles and hindrances in our way but we must patiently persevere and keep our eyes on Jesus.
We can’t look back. We need others to help us as we help them. We must be in training every day, working on the basics over and over.
Do you know what the basics of the Christian life are? Learning the Bible, prayer, obedience, worship and praise, helping others and telling people about Jesus.
A victorious individual or team keeps focusing on the basics – athletes and Christians.
“The parallels of being a successful runner and victorious Christian are striking to me. To stay in top condition, I run up to 3 hours a day or about 93 miles a week. In the same way, I train to develop and maintain a disciplined spiritual life. Despite my running schedule, it is important to stay in close contact with the Word of God, the Bible, because it is the purest way of knowing what God wants me to be and to do. I make a special place in my day to get alone with God, praying to Him and reading my Bible.” Elana Meyer, distance runner, Silver medalist in 10,000m at age 25
As an athlete must stay in physical training, so we must stay in spiritual training (1 Timothy 4:7-8; Hebrews 12:11; 5:14). First, in athletics as well as Christian living, it is important to stay clean. An athlete can’t train or perform well if they are dirty. The same is true for Christians (1 John 1:8-10). You cannot allow unconfessed sin in your life and think you can grow spiritually.
Athletic performance depends, in a large part, on what is put into a person’s body. Proper nourishment is essential to reach full potential physically or spiritually. As Christians, we must be good stewards of our bodies, but we also must nourish our mind and soul on God’s Word (John 5:39; Acts 17:11). Fill your thoughts with Scripture, not just worldly music, movies and ideas
Good communication between performer and trainer is another necessity. Finding the right coach, then listening to what they say, is important for every athlete. We, too, need to follow the advice of mature spiritual Christians and leaders. We need to listen to them and learn from them. They get their wisdom from God and His Word, so we know it is what we need. Make sure you are in continual, direct communication with God through prayer (Matthew 6:6; Psalm 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
When we are given good advice, we need to follow instructions. Why have a coach if you think you know better than them? Sometimes we think we know better than God and we don’t obey Him. That never brings victory. We need to trust God so we can obey in faith. That’s how a good working relationship works between any coach and student.
Physical training is hard. The flesh is weak and wants to indulge instead of discipline sacrifice. Bodies get weary and want to stop or quit. Achieving the goal takes perseverance. Athletes and Christians must stick to their commitment, keep their eyes on their goal, exercise self-control and resist temptation. Temptation can come from others around us (Proverbs 1:10-17; 1 John 2:26), our own sinful desires (Galatians 5:17; 1 John 2:16) or even Satan himself (Genesis 3:1-13; Mark 4;15; Luke 22:31-32). God, our coach, gives us His Word, the Bible, to help us have victory over temptation (Psalm 119:9-11; 165; Matthew 4:1-11).
Finally, a successful athlete needs to have a positive attitude in order to do their best. Sports psychologists do a big business helping athletes stay confident and optimistic. As Christians we keep a godly outlook through praise and worship. Focusing on God and His greatness and blessings keeps our eyes off ourselves and our petty complaints. We can’t ever have too much worship in our lives! Stick to these basics and watch God work in you and through you.
How are you doing with the basics of your faith? If you were an athlete, would you be doing enough to win? Which area do you need to work in most? What can you do starting today to improve in that area?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
Copyright © 2021