I was watching the Olympics and it wasn’t long before I heard one of the personal stories that the games have become known for over the years. A story of sacrifice and suffering characterizes the very different life of an Olympian.
I then saw a commercial in which various different athletes declared small sacrifices they have made: “I haven’t watched TV since last summer,” ” I haven’t had dessert in a year,” “I missed my school prom,” etc.
As I thought about these sacrifices, I reflected on the Christian life and how, in many ways, the life of an aspiring Olympian is similar. Christian men sacrifice daily for their wives, family and for God. They don’t do what they want to do. They stand out. They are different from everyone else and that is difficult. It takes strength, courage, and most of all, faith!
I was told recently about a young relative who wears a purity ring. The ring reminds him that he is saving himself for marriage. So, when he is tempted, when he has desires, he can stop and realize that there is something better in store for him. I’m sure this faith in God’s promises strengthens him. In many ways this ring is a reminder of the medal (or the crown as the Bible calls it) that we ought to strive for in the race of our lives.
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ. ” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“If we do anything to further the kingdom of God, we may expect to find what Christ found on that road – abuse, indifference, injustice, misunderstanding, trouble of some kind. Take it. Why not? To that you were called. In Latin America someone who feels sorry for himself is said to look like a donkey in a downpour. If we think of the glorious fact that we are on the same path with Jesus, we might see a rainbow. ” - Elisabeth Elliot
“To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us.” - John Henry Newman
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
“If the ultimate, the hardest, cannot be asked of me; if my fellows hesitate to ask it and turn to someone else, then I know nothing of Calvary love. ” - Amy Carmichael
You see our sacrifices are nothing, as Paul said so well in Philippians 3:8: “What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ.”
May we gain the prize, Christ!!