The world is watching the 2012 World Olympics! What an opportune time to motivate and inspire millions to become spiritual Olympians and athletes in the “game” many call life. The Olympics is a great analogy. Apostle Paul uses the analogy of physical training in his letter to Timothy, urging him to train himself for godliness the same way disciplined athletes train for competition.
Keywords: Train and discipline.
Can you imagine the sacrifice that all the athletes made just to be part of the Olympics? Let’s consider one
in particular— Gabrielle Christina Victoria Douglas, aka, Gabby. Her story is one of sacrifice and discipline not only for her, but for her family as well. I was moved to tears watching the video about the sacrifice Gabby made to move away from her mom and loving family into the home of a host family some 3,000 miles away to train in pursuit of a life-changing dream. That dream is now reality, no doubt, beyond her expectation. What an awesome achievement as the world witnesses—16 year-old; U.S.A. all around gold medalist in the 2012 Olympics. All of their investments, hard work, discipline and sacrifices paid off.
I pondered the question: Why would someone make such sacrifices and devote so much of their time and energy into training? And then the answer was clear: Because of passion and purpose. It is a passion for something that compels…an innate gift and an undeniable ability that produce perseverance. The heart’s desire to achieve your dream is stronger than the physical pain you will bear, or the emotional pain you will suffer living with regrets if you fail to pursue the dream. And like, Gabby, sometimes the emotional pain can seem more unbearable than the physical pain. But when purpose is calling someone— a mom, a host family, a coach— tap into your potential and see the possibilities of a life-changing experience; therefore, they won’t let you quit, but will help you to fight for your dream. Why is that important? Because when the dream becomes reality, others are inspired…you are a witness; you are a model. I’d even go so far as to say it is a ‘calling’, part of a Divine plan to reveal a greater purpose. In Gabby’s instance, a message of faith, hope, love and unity.
Herein is the inspiration and motivation for us Christians. We must answer the question: What is it that I am so passionate about; that I want so badly in my Christian walk of faith that I am willing to make sacrifices, and discipline myself by training untiringly to achieve it? “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
I know it’s easy to become fainthearted, weary and discouraged when it seems life has dealt you a “bad” hand (Galatians 6:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:13). More often, it’s not a bad hand, but rather, our holding on to the hand of people, memory of places, and danger of things that keep us from achieving the best that God has planned for us, and wants to give us. It may mean you have to separate yourself from those you love dearly.
As Christians our lives are on display; we are the billboards along life’s highway. We are called to be witnesses to the world for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). Of course, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, there will always be ridicule, naysayers, opposition, and negative opinions. Nevertheless, we must stand firm and not be persuaded to give up when the going gets tough, especially when people focus more on the minor rather than appreciate you for the accomplishments that make all of us proud.
In America, athletes are often considered models; being in the public eye has its challenges especially when one is not ashamed to be a witness for Christ. We all need models— an example of how we should live; and how we should pursue our dreams in a godly manner, and then give glory to God when He blesses us to achieve those desires, which He placed in our hearts.
In 1 Timothy Paul urges his loyal friend to become that model by accepting the discipline and hard work required to be a model— a spiritual Olympians—committed to pursuing a real relationship with Jesus Christ worth more than gold. Paul admonished Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). In essence, it takes hard work and discipline to live a godly lifestyle. However, what’s more important is that we have the Holy Spirit to help us. If we let Him, he will lead and guide us. He will teach us how to compete in the race of life and seal our victory as spiritual Olympians—winners of the crown of life in glory.
The world is watching the 2012 World Olympics! What an opportune time to motivate and inspire someone to become spiritual Olympians and athletes in the race of life by being a disciplined Christian.