Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

Going for the Gold

With all the talk of the Olympics lately, one can't help but think of this verse: 

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:14

My question today is, "Are we (Christians) living like champions?" 

I was totally impressed with the half pipe Olympian, Shaun White, last night.  He not only smoked the competition with his first run, but he did not disappoint with the second run either – one he didn’t even have to make in order to win gold.   After knowing that the victory was already won after the first round, he stood at the top of the pipe discussing what he should do for the second run.  Briefly he made the comment, “Should I just ride down the middle?”   But, true to the champion he is, he took that opportunity to do his very best – even throwing in a difficult maneuver at the very end.  It not only delighted the crowd, but it was also scored higher than the first run!   

Similarly, knowing that Christ has already given us the victory should not be a reason to lazy our way into the Kingdom.  It should be a freeing factor, however, removing all the stress and pressure – enabling us to do our best to shine for Him!    Our confidence in Christ gives way to confidence in our purpose and potential.  We have nothing that we have to “prove”.   We just have to identify with who we already are – winners – and live it out!  

How are champions made?  Are they born winners or do they gain their skill over time?
Champions of the faith may not be "born", but they are "born again"!  We realize that we are saved by grace and we live, move, and have our being in Him.  He is the power behind every action. 

Anyone who competes would tell you that you may have some raw talent, but champion-type-skills are perfected through discipline, practice, and dedication.   There are a lot of failures along the way too - but these setbacks do not distract from giving their all - doing their best - and reaching for the gold.  Several of the Olympic gold medalists didn’t even medal their first time at the games.  Disappointment lingered for four years until they had their chance again.  That’s determination, stamina, and dedication!  Are we willing to put in the time, energy, and effort as we press toward the goal?   When we fall, we are not utterly destroyed.  We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and learn from our mistakes.  Each experience, good and bad, lead us toward our destination.    God is gracious and merciful.  For an amazing race, you need amazing grace.

Also, part of the journey toward going for the gold is a mind set.  To be a champion - you have to think like a champion.  Proverbs 23:7 tells us, "For as he thinks in his heart, so is he."    You have to go for it with all your heart, your entire mind, and all your strength.   Keep the faith.  Do it well with all your might!   Keep your mind set on things above.  I’ve often heard Olympians talk about keeping their mind engaged in every action.  You complete one move and immediately begin to think about the next one you’ll have to perform.  Not only that, but training takes discipline of the mind and determining to not anything stop you from reaching your goal.  Staying engaged in the event is like the verse that compels us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Now that’s FOCUS!

For the Christian, it’s not really pressing for the “what”, but rather the “whom”.  You cannot get the GOLD without GOD.  The motivation is not in receiving the reward, but for living and doing your very best as you are empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Even when we receive eternal rewards such as crowns of gold encrusted with jewels – they will not be idolized – we will place them at Jesus feet!   We do all we do for Him.

Gold medal winners are a representation of what they do - the reward is a testament of a job well done.  Think of the Olympians – when you are a medal winner in your sport, your name is synonymous with the sport you perform.    In essence, we are ambassadors of Christ.  Do others look at us and see Christ and the spiritual gifts he’s given to us? 

Be a champion for Christ today and press on toward the goal!


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