It’s 2016. He walks up to the track, running shoes ready. The training’s been done. This is it the final moment. Usain Bolt will now determine that he is the fastest man in the world.
You may remember watching this race or possibly another favorite event from the Olympics. It could be the swimming legend Michael Phelps, volleyball stars Misty May-Traenor and Kerri Lee-Walsh, or gymnast Gabby Douglas. Most Americans have someone they are pulling for when watching the world games, but that’s all we are doing watching.
Isn’t that similar for some of us in the Christian life?
Some of us are caught up in spectator Christianity. We have pastors, leaders, and other great teachers and role models we look up to. We cheer them on. We expect them to win. We expect them to train properly. After all the Bible does describe the Christian life as a race. Check out Hebrews 12:1.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
We are all athletes in the Christian life. God has called us to run the Christian life, and He doesn’t want us to live like we are not even part of the team. We often live not just as losers, but like we aren’t even participants. We sit idly by, thankless for how Jesus rescued us from sin, death, and hell.
First, we expect our leaders to fuel properly while we eat junk. Any athlete will stress the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. It’s essential to training your body to be its best. The same is true of our Christian race.
What do you need to survive? Food and water.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the living water and the Bible is the bread of life.
We expect our leaders to study the Bible daily, but we only read ours on Sunday. We like God’s Word when it fits with our schedule and preferences, but if we don’t have time, oh well it’s not really that important to us.
Can you just skip eating and really be okay? No. Absolutely not, I know that from personal experience, but that’s a topic for another time. Your body shuts down without the proper fuel.
Without the proper fuel of God’s Word every day, you’re spiritual walk is going to shut down. You will find yourself starving spiritually. You miss out on what God wants to teach you.
Now sometimes, we just have an unhealthy diet. Maybe you do read your Bible, but what else are you feeding your soul? We all know that when it comes to our physical bodies the bad stuff tastes so good. Pizza, ice cream, burgers, pasta. Is your mouth watering yet?
But we also try to fill up on these terrible things in our Christian life, and they can only satisfy for so long. We look to bad relationships, drugs, alcohol, money, fame, immorality, pornography. We have somehow justified tasting these things that God says are sin. And we are only hurting ourselves (and your team and God) in the race.
Stick to a healthy, balanced diet. Feed yourself from God’s Word so that you have the strength and energy you need to run the race before you.
Second, we expect our leaders to train while we do practically nothing.What if athletes skipped their training? Yes, maybe they could live without going for a day. But what if it becomes two, three, four? And then next thing you know, you haven’t been to the gym for 5 years now. The athlete would obviously not be prepared to do his best in any competition. He would fail.
If we are not daily training in God’s Word, we are going to fail. God’s Word has the principles and standards we need to live out our life daily. What are some ways that we can daily train ourselves in God’s Word?
- Be kind. Every single day. Even on those days when you feel like just snapping at everyone.
- Be a servant. Look for other peoples’ needs instead of your own.
- Give. Give of your time, money, and effort.
- Love your neighbor. Even when they aren’t being loving to you, love them anyway. It’s a command.
- Pray. Pray for everything. There’s nothing in your life that Jesus doesn’t care about.
The list could go on, but I think you get the idea. Find those ways to fuel your body from God’s Word and then practice them daily.
If you watched Usain Bolt’s race from the 2016 Olympics, you would without a doubt say he is the fastest man in the world. He was successful because of all the fuel and training he put into his running.
Shouldn’t we be just as passionate about our Christian race? Maybe it’s time to dust of those running shoes that have been sitting in the closet for awhile. Put ’em on. See what God can do with your life.