Olympic Lessons from God's Word
Sports Widows Alert: the Winter Olympics start TODAY! During the Olympics' run, we Doyals are sleep-deprived yet sudden experts in tobogganing, downhill skiing, figure skating and even curling.
To help justify all this passive television viewing - or at least quiet my conscience - I remind myself that the Bible deals with sports matters quite a bit. So, for all you sport fans, here are some Olympics inspired passages from God's word.
Some are verses that seem to have been drawn from athletic competition. Other texts have connected ideas that are fodder for meditation and prayer. Use these verses to create your own parables, analogies, and life lessons.
Does guilt creep up on you as you sit and snack, watching countless disciplined, well-conditioned creatures? Here is a further motivation to get into better shape - both physical and spiritual.
"Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives' tales. Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness. Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next." (1 Timothy 4:7 & 8 - NLT)
As you enjoy the next medal presentation, and consider the years it took for the athlete to earn it, mull over this verse: " How much better to get wisdom than gold, and understanding than silver!" (Proverbs 16:16 - NLT). While the gold and silver refer to riches, it does still help us ask: does this sound like one of my core convictions?
The Apostle Paul must have been a sports fan. See if this sports-filled passage - I count eight plus allusions - describes your commitment to the gospel and Christ.
"I do all this to spread the Good News, and in doing so I enjoy its blessings. Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.
"So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified" (1 Corinthians 9:23-27 - NLT).
As you consider those glorious temples in Athens, built to honor their gods, check out this track / temple exhortation for purity:
"Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body" (1 Corinthians 6 18-20 - NLT).
When you are amazed by speedy short track racers, and insane skiers, pray this for missionaries: "... pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith" (1 Thessalonians 3:1 & 2 - NKJV).
Seen anyone disqualified or penalized for cheating, drugs, lane violations or low blows? It is a great reminder to "...fight the good fight for what we believe..." (1 Timothy 6:12 - NLT).
Last, but not least, as medal winners are crowned with soon-to-fade laurel wreaths, consider this text, praying it can be your testimony as well: "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:6-8 - NKJV).
Let the games begin! May we be found living medal-worthy lives of discipline and diligence.