“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:14
The Olympics have fascinated me since I was a little girl. I would sit in front of the television when they were on, completely mesmerized. I thought being an Olympic athlete was exciting and glamorous. However, I was oblivious to the years of rigorous training required to compete at such an elite level – intense workouts (sometimes twice a day), structured eating plans, time away from family and friends, frequent travel, and nagging physical injuries.
Now that I’m older, I know better. The road to the Games is not easy. Preparing for world’s greatest sporting event takes years of hard work and discipline. Every decision in the athletes’ lives is centered on one goal – getting to the Games. From the moment they wake up until they go to bed at night, every decision is strategically calculated to set them up for future success in their respective sports – what they eat, how much they sleep, and how they spend their free time (which isn’t much). Only the most committed, determined athletes will have the chance to compete for a gold medal.
If you’re a believer, you’re also an athlete in strict training – spiritual training – with an overriding goal of growing in the Lord. Your faith muscles are strengthened through daily Bible study, prayer, service to others, and occasional fasting. Such disciplines are essential if you want to finish well in the race God has called you to run.
How is your training coming along? Ask God what you need to do to improve. Perhaps it’s waking up 20 minutes earlier to spend time in the Word. Maybe it’s getting involved in an outreach ministry of your church. Whatever God speaks to your heart, know that He will help you respond in obedience.
You only get one chance at this life, so give it all you’ve got – just as if you were an Olympic athlete in training. Your reward is coming, but it’s more valuable than a shiny medal and far greater than a few minutes in the limelight. The Lord Jesus Christ will place a crown of righteousness of your head and say, “Well, done!” Every pain will be forgotten as you enter into your glorious rest with your Savior, your Prize.