Read: 2 Timothy 4:8 |
I love watching the Olympics – Winter or Summer. I love and hate the flurry of finishes and falls, new hero’s and fallen heroes and improbable victory snatched from the jaws of certain defeat. At the end, medal-winners and non-medal winners come together for the closing ceremony. After all, their finish is less important than giving their personal best.
In spite of their years of preparation and training, Olympic athletes compete for a corruptible crown that only three men/women can win in each sport. As believers training and preparing on earth, we stand to each inherit a crown of righteousness and a trip to heaven (2 Timothy 2:4:8).
History has transformed the Olympics Pagan beginnings
The Olympics started out as a pagan event entwined with homage to the gods of the ancient Greek culture. Though initially pagan, the motto is universal Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Fastest, Highest, Strongest”). The first games coincided with the time of Isaiah. The Apostle Paul during his missionary journeys to Greece reflectively used an analogy of a disciple of Christ drawn from the imagery of an Olympic athlete preparing to run the race. (Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:6-8)
The core values of Olympic athletes training and performing at their very best carry-over into the core values of believers wanting to please God with their best. Perfecting our faith should be our Olympic pursuit by seeking to:
- Become F.A.T. – Faithful-Available-Teachable
- Apply the 4P’s – Plan-Practice-Persevere-Perform
- Achieve Excellence
- Represent Christ
Become F.A.T. – Faithful-Available-Teachable
A believer who strives to be FAT – Faithful-Available-Teachable is on their way to becoming a godly Olympian. Kelly Clark, a pro Snowboarder and past Olympic Gold medalist, was not a Christian when she trained for and won her gold medal. However, she accepted Christ after talking with other athletes at the games. The faithfulness of an unnamed non-medalist Olympian added to her own crown in heaven by sharing her faith with Kelly. [Read Kathy’s story here].
Be F.A.T., my friend; in fact stay F.A.T.
Applying the 4Ps – Plan-Practice-Persevere-Perform
A believer, who plans, practices, perseveres and performs what they have learned about God exhibits Olympic-worthy spiritual values. Katya Antonuk, grew up in a part of Russia where it snowed eight months of the year. Thus, cross-country skiing came naturally for her. In Russia, this sport is called the “Horse sport” because of the tough training regimen required – sometimes 60k in one training run. She did not accept Christ until her teenage years while training with others. Since then, she has used her God-given talents to bring glory to God and served as a chaplain in the 2002 Turin Olympics. [Read Katya’s story here]
God has a plan for us, even though we may not know all of it (Jeremiah 29:11). Yet, we can act on what we know. We can run the race before us and overcome the moguls/obstacles we face one at a time (James 1:12). When we fall, are injured or even go out-of-bounds, get back in the race. Perform as if God is watching, because He is!
In the Olympics, each athlete starts at a different place but arrives at the Olympic Village after years of training and preparation. Believers start at different places as well and we all are preparing for our common destination of Heaven. As we train, practice, and demonstrate our love for God, be “Olympic” in the effort to stay F.A.T. and apply the 4Ps.
Our job is not to run about aimlessly, compete against fellow Christians or seek individual attention for our accomplishments. Our job is to finish the race where God has placed us. After all, giving our personal best is what it is all about.
Next week: Olympic Believers Go for the Gold of Pleasing God – Part 2
A. How would your rate your F.A.T.ness? Gold-Silver-Bronze or needs work?
B. How would your rate your application of the 4P’s? Gold-Silver-Bronze or needs work?
A. How can you increase your faithfulness, availability and teachablenss? What is stopping you from starting right away
B. Everyone has a plan, how do you react when your plan faces resistance or runs into an unforeseen problem. What tools do you use to make sure you practice, preserver and perform the plan God has for your life?
A. How can you raise your level of F.A.T to an Olympic-worthy level? How can you challenge others to do the same.
B. Is anyone motivated to do more for Christ because they see you making the extra Olympic –like effort to be a better Believer despite your circumstances?