By Jarrod Jacobs
As we know, the Centennial Olympic Games were played in Atlanta, Georgia. As I watched these fine athletes compete in their respective events, I could not help but think of their drive and determination that got them there. You see, one does not simply “show up” and compete in the Olympics! Each Olympian had trained for many years and had sacrificed family and social life to get a chance to compete with the world’s best athletes.
As noble as their drive and de-termination for the gold medal was, my thoughts turn to the spiritual “competition” that all Christians must endure. The Bible compares our living for Christ to a “race” (Heb. 12:1; 2 Tim. 4:7). It also compares our living for Christ as “a fight” (1 Cor. 9:25; 2 Tim. 4:7). I wonder if we truly can appreciate what this means. If we did, why do we not have more Christians who are “in shape” spiritually? Why do we have to constantly remind fellow Christians to be faithful to God? The Bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Is this our goal?
Each Olympian in Atlanta had trained and had been working very hard to reach the gold medal. How great it must be to feel that gold around the neck, and know that this was the end result of hard work and determination for those many years. When thinking of spiritual matters, how great it will be someday to know that the hard work and determination we put forth in this life has been worth it all. I would suggest to you that the reward we receive as Christians will be far greater than a room full of gold medals! Paul teaches, “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation” (1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Tim. 4:7-9).
How much greater our heavenly reward will be than that which the Olympians received. However, we must remember that we must train our bodies and minds to be in sub-mission to God (1 Cor. 9:27; Rom. 12:1-2). Paul said, “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2 Tim. 2:5). In other words, we have a standard, or rule, that we must follow just as the Olympians do. Our standard is the Bible. It is inspired of God, and reveals all we need to know to get to heaven (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3; Phil. 2:12).
Are you in shape, spiritually? Are you looking, training, and striving “for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10)? Paul said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). When your life is nearing its end, will you only have memories to give you comfort, or will you have hopes to give you comfort? What is your goal in life? Is it for the gold medal, or the streets of gold?
Guardian of Truth XL: No. 19, p. 1
October 3, 1996