Go for gold
Deciding on a title usually happens at the end of my writing. Sometimes the title jumps out at me around the middle, but this one occurred even before my fingers hit the keyboard. After reading these four verses I was already charged up, ready to give it my all, go for gold.
I’ve never been an athlete. I’m simply not built for it and vital elements are missing, while others are totally out of proportion. But it’s beautiful to see an athlete running a final with everything in him. Every single muscle burning with exertion as he sweeps through the ribbon as the winner. It’s quite sad that the custom of a ribbon at the finishing line is no longer used.
Like athletes, Paul said, we must exert ourselves for Christ. We must run with everything in us to win the race for Jesus. 24You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. Whoever runs a race to come second? No, you give your all to come first. That is what it’s all about. Go for gold.
We must give everything for Christ. If we work, we must work as if it’s the last chance we have. If we play, we must play hard, because there may be no tomorrow. And we must do all of this when we’re running flat-out in Jesus’ race. There’s no time to lie on the couch like potatoes doing nothing. No, everything in us must burn to finish Jesus’ race as winners.
But we know it’s not that easy to become a good athlete. Every time I drive past Coetzenburg athletics stadium I see the athletes training hard. It takes a lot of perseverance, time and energy to get your muscles in perfect condition to become a good athlete. The same for the Christian’s race: 25All good athletes train hard. When you haven’t trained at all, that’s when you bite the dust. Then you really make a fool of yourself.
We must be prepared for the race of life. The best training takes place in your quiet time when you learn to hear God’s voice, when you understand what God wants you to do in the world, when you learn to exercise your spiritual muscles. We must give it our all, go for gold. It takes time, energy and a lot of perseverance.
Then we can go out in the world and live life to the full. Then we can run and give all that we have for Jesus. Then we will be able to say with Paul: 26… I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! 27I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.
Shout it out with me: Go for gold! Let’s become charged up to train and live the life out there at full speed. Let’s run flat-out in Christ’s race and let’s stretch forwards to be the first to break the winner’s ribbon. Because remember: 25They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
Are you running the race flat-out for Christ?
Do you train hard?
Are you on your way to winning the first prize?
Lord, I really want to give it my all. I want to train until each spiritual muscle is tensed and burning. I want to win. I want to get the first prize. Amen