Saturday, August 9, 2008


Let us strip off every weight that slows us down,
especially the sin that so easily trips us up.
And let us run with endurance the race
God has set before us.
Hebrews 12:1 NLT

Legend has it that Hercules founded the Olympics – the date is unknown. The first year written records were kept of the Olympic Games was in 779 BC. Coroebus won the first and only event – a 210 yard run (which he ran naked) making him the first Olympic champion in recorded history. The Games grew and were played every four years for nearly 1200 years. In 393 AD Theodosius, a Christian Roman Emperor abolished the Games because of their pagan influences. They were started again in the year of 1896 in Athens, Greece, due largely to the work of a French aristocrat by the name of Pierre de Coubertin.

The 2008 Summer Olympics started in Beijing China this weekend and have been all the hype for some time now. Two hundred and four nations have sent their best to compete in the various events. Athletes have been focusing their entire lives for years to be the very best in their field. Some will win the Gold, Silver or Bronze. Most will not win a prize other than the honor of having represented their country at the Olympics.

Sporting events were big in the Apostle Paul's day. He often used sporting analogies in his writings, such as runners, boxers, wrestlers, and trophies, etc. He saw the Christian life as a race - a race where the finish line is not crossed until we are with Jesus. He admonishes us to be disciplined and train hard to develop spiritual endurance.(a) There is no substitute for endurance training – it takes time in the Word and prayer – listening to the Spirit’s prompting, and repenting when we have been disobedient.

It is not uncommon to see people make a good start in the Christian life, being cheered on by believers around them and believers who have gone on to be with the Lord. But as the race becomes more difficult they may slow up or even wander off the track. The writer of Hebrews says, “Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up”.(b)

So dear friends, let’s peel off the stuff that wears us down spiritually, or may cause us to stumble and fall. Let’s refocus our eyes on Jesus, and with a steady pace run the race set before us - so that when we cross the finish line we will hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into my joy.” What a prize that will be! - Infinitely better than any Olympic Gold.

Let’s Pray-
Father, we need your help with keeping our eyes on Jesus. We are so easily distracted. Please show us what is slowing down our pace in the race, and help us to get rid of it promptly.
We ask it in Jesus name.

(a) 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 NLT, (b) Hebrews 12:1-3, NLT,

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a timely message!