During the Olympic Games, athletes will participate in what are considered to be the most important athletic events of their lives. Why? They have been chosen to represent their countries, because they are considered to be the crème de la crème, the cream of the crop; the best their countries have to offer to participate in this most prestigious worldwide event. There is no larger stage for these athletes. There is enormous pressure to bring home the gold. Most athletes who participate in the Olympic games, have literally been preparing for this moment in time all of their lives! They have dreamed about it for years and years! No athlete dreams of winning silver or bronze medals. The dream was always to bring home the gold medal, to hear their countries’ anthem resounding throughout the stadium, to see their countries’ flag towering above the rest, and finally to be on the center platform, not off to either side of it. The athletes who come in second and third places are awarded silver and bronze medals. The other athletes return home defeated, deflated, devastated, and demoralized. For that matter, some who win silver or bronze medals, return home in the very same state. Years before the athletes are ever selected to participate in the Olympic Games, they live disciplined lives, are temperate in all things, endure gruelling training sessions for several hours per day, sometimes seven days per week, and they make extraordinary personal sacrifices. This is not a temporary way of being. Rather it is a lifestyle which they have chosen to live. Why? They are striving for mastery. They have their eyes on the prize, the prestigious gold medal. They are aspiring to be the very best in the world! Thousands of athletes have the same dream of bringing home gold. However, for each athletic event there can be only one gold medalist. Knowing the extremely slim odds of winning gold, athletes go to the Olympic Games, confident they will be among the elite group of athletes who will accomplish this lofty goal. Those athletes who obviously will fall short of achieving their goal of medaling, although thwarted and exhausted, will strive to cross the finish line, even in defeat. But why? They have chosen to finish what they started.
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 Corinthians 9:24-25) “Apostle Paul chose this analogy, because the Corinthians were quite familiar with the Olympic Games. History tells us that the Olympic Games began in the 7th century Before Christ (BC) in Olympia Greece, and that they were held every fourth year, almost continually, for 1,200 years. During that time period, the Greeks even marked their calendars in four-year periods called Olympiads.” Paul applied this account to the Christian’s course of life, and exhorts Christians to run in like manner as runners do in a race. The stadium in which the believer runs is the world, or this present life.” I am in this Christian race to win it; 99 1/2 just won’t do! What about you? Are you in it to win it? I am running in this Christian race, that I might obtain an incorruptible crown. I want to see Jesus in peace. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14) Runners press toward the white line or “mark.” They literally strain to cross the finish line first. Apostle Paul refers to Jesus Christ as the “mark.” In this Christian race, we are to press toward Jesus, and to look unto Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith.” The athletes discipline themselves, deny their flesh, and make great sacrifices to obtain a corruptible crown. They keep their eyes on the prize. We must keep our eyes on the prize, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, and not on the things of this world. Stay in the press, and never give up. Hang in there my sisters and brothers. This race gets difficult sometimes. Strive to finish what you started. Stay in the race. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing. (II Timothy 4:8) If you have not yet joined this Christian race, there is room at the cross and the finish line for you too. Come to Jesus. He will save you. May the Lord bless you abundantly, today and every day!