2 Timothy 2:5
'... if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.'
I don't know about you dear reader, but I've certainly enjoyed watching the 2016 Rio Olympics these past sixteen days. It's been a pleasure to watch these supremely fit athletes doing their thing; I've cried tears of joy with them and marveled at their athletic skills.
For years they've trained many hours a week to hone their skills; they've suffered injuries, and they've made huge sacrifices just to get a shot at an Olympic medal. While watching the games the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart, "I want my people to be spiritual Olympians." Wow! I knew God had just spoken something very significant so I went strait to the Word.
Prompted by the Holy Spirit, and drawing inspiration from his athletic contemporaries Paul writes, 'Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown,' 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.
The very moment we are born again we're entered into a spiritual race, and this race is not a sprint but a marathon! I love how scripture tells us that we have a prize to obtain, and that prize just happens to be a crown. Unlike the Olympic gold medals, our prize is an imperishable crown of life.
So how are we meant to run this race? Well, because this race is a marathon it's all about patience, and endurance. It's about seeking God's kingdom first; it's about sacrificing our self centered lives for the good of others.
A Christian who is running this race, according to the rules, is temperate in all things. In other words this Christian is living a holy life and striving to obey God in all things. Hebrews 12:1 says, '...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us...'
It's really exiting to see our Olympians win the gold medals, and we stand in awe of the enormous sacrifices made by these athletes. But it's even more exiting to know that we have our very own race going on, and it's a race that is far more significant than any Olympic race ever invented!
Our race takes far more discipline than any other, and it has an exceedingly better prize than any Olympic gold medal. There is no other race that has as many competitors as ours (millions), yet all can win the crown! There is no other race that can boast such an audience as ours, for even God Himself, together with the hosts of heaven, cheer us on.
Dear reader, my thought for you today is this: God wants you to realize that you are in a race that has eternal rewards and consequences, and that you must run it according to the rules. He wants you to know that there is an eternal prize waiting for you at the finish line.
So dear reader run to win, and when you cross that finish line you'll stand before the King of the universe to receive your prize, the crown of life.
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