Are you a sports fan? What is your favourite sport? I like all kinds of sports, mainly the ones that involve chasing a ball (football, handball, hockey, volleyball, tennis, water polo, table tennis, snooker, golf, etc. – you get the picture), but I just as much enjoy the thrill and excitement in any kind of sports. If you like sports, it is very likely you enjoy the Olympic Games that brings a vast array of sports to our screens.
This year we can enjoy the Tokyo Olympics (at the time of writing the games are still on!). Although, one year late and a bit squeezed, but they are still on to enjoy them. For our household we can really enjoy it as we can support Team GB, Finland, Hungary, and Romania! Let’s go for Gold.
Did you know that the Apostle Paul was a massive sports fan? Paul quite often used examples from athletics and sports to emphasise his message of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; Acts 20:24). Just like athletes who want to win the race, Christians too, need to discipline themselves, train hard and compete with perseverance and fairness to win the crown of life, we need to go for gold! There is no alternative, we cannot be mediocre Christians. In the Christian life there is not crown for the ‘also ran’. Paul admired all the qualities that went into fair competition. He saw those qualities as essential for Christians in their journey of faith too. One needs to put in all they have, into pursuing their faith. We need to do our best in following Jesus! There is no other way (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)!
However, Paul is not the only New Testament writer who was inspired by sports, the author of the Letter to the Hebrews also used athletic images to emphasise the gospel message. In ancient Greece athletes competed unclothed. They wanted nothing to hold them back in their race. The writer of Hebrews used them as an example writing that the followers of Christ should “throw off everything that hinders” their “race” following Christ, and they should “run the race with perseverance” (Hebrews 12:1).
We will explore Hebrews 12:1-13 in July to learn and discipline ourselves in running the race Christ marked out for us. Let us go for gold and let nothing hinder us in running the Christian race marked out for us!
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