What does it take to grow the spiritual muscles necessary to become champions for God? It will surprise you that the very goal we strive for is also the very strength that we utilise to win the prize—the fullness of Jesus Christ.
The Olympics are what they are because they are a home of champions, and becoming a champion is no laughing matter. Yesterday, I was watching a documentary on the preparations Olympic qualifiers usually go through for the Olympic Games.
It’s hard to imagine all the hours per day and days per year put into preparing for what won’t last more than a month. All the effort, work, exercise, studying, fasting, developing and training is put in to become ready for something that won’t last more than a lifetime.
How much more, then, should we prepare for something that we know will live on forever? In growing the spirit and seeking heavenly treasures, God desires that we strive for Olympic-level performance. Philippians 4:8 urges us, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
God is a God of excellence and He desires no less from each of us. That’s not to say that we become Olympic champions for God overnight, but through Christ we can and have been given the hearts of champions.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24–25 the apostle Paul has this to say: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things” (ESV).
In this race of life, there is a prize—and the prize is no less than Christ Himself—but just like any other race, this one will have distractions that will disguise themselves as even better prizes: earthly success, wealth, fame and satisfaction. That’s not to say that any of these are bad, but they can never compare to the prize that is Jesus Christ.
If you ask any Olympian what keeps them going through all the rigid training and challenging contests, most will probably refer to the prize as the most important motivation of all. For us, it’s no different. The very same prize who is Jesus Christ becomes our motivation and strength to compete with heart and excellence because in the end, as we all run faithfully, we will all receive our prize; our prize is one we all share together. He is waiting for us, and He can’t wait to celebrate with you.
By Patrick Mabilog