post

Olympians and Christians

Olympics Medal London 2012    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!

Purity ring men

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!!

Amen!

Comments

  1. I apologize, I had a few grammar and spelling mistakes in the above post. They’ve been fixed now. Thank you for your support!!

    • We decided to turn our will and life over God as we understood him

      The first requirement is that we be convinced that any life run on self-will can hardly be a success.
      On that basis we are almost always in collision with something or somebody, even though our motives are good
      Most people try to live by self-propulsion. Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.
      What usually happens? The show doesn’t come off very well. He begins to think life doesn’t treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self pitying. What is his basic trouble? Is he not really a self seeker even when trying to be kind? Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if only he manages well? Is it not evident to all the rest of the players that these are things he wants? And do not his actions make each of them wish to retaliate, snatching all they can get out of the show? Is he not, even in his best moments, a producer of confusion rather than harmony?
      our actor is self-centered—ego-centric, as people like to call it nowadays, he like the retired business man who lolls in the Florida sunshine in the winter complaining of the sad state of the nation; the minister who sighs over the sins of the twentieth century; politicians and reformers who are sure all would be utopia if the rest of the world would only behave; the outlaw safe cracker who thinks society has wronged him; and the alcoholic who has lost all and is locked up. Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?
      Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.
      So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of our selves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid. Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to. Neither could we reduce our self-centeredness much by wishing or trying on our own power. We had to have God’s help.
      This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.
      When we sincerely took such a position, all sorts of remarkable things followed. We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well. Established on such a footing we became less and less interested in ourselves, our own little plans and designs. More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of His presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow or the hereafter. We were reborn
      “God, I offer myself to Thee — to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”

  2. I agree John. If our life is self-centered, it can’t be God-centered. Selfishness is what is destroyed when we follow God whole heartily.

    One caution, in the middle of your comment you seemed to imply that all our hardships are caused by our actions towards others. Some may equate this to ‘karma’. This doesn’t fully explain the hardships and rejection we receive as Christians. Karma is too simple. We go through hardships for many reasons. Sometimes it is self-inflicted but sometimes God is using it to grow us into what he desires us to be. Still other times, we cannot explain the hardship, and we must trust that God is righteous and trustworthy and have faith in Him. Sometimes, the purpose is simply this, to get us to trust Him more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: