As we watch the 2012 Olympics we are inspired by the great athleticism of the athletes and their ability to rise above many challenges along their path leading to the Olympic competition.
Dana Vollmer, after having a disastrous performance in the 2008 Olympic qualifying trials and finishing out of the medals in the four events she did compete in, came back this year and won the 100 butterfly to set a new world record. In addition to the challenges of 2008 Vollmer underwent surgery to correct a rapid heartbeat.
These athletes, such as Dana Vollmer who seem to perform so effortlessly and flawlessly have spent years and multitudes of hours training and equipping themselves for this competition. They did not arrive at this level of competition without first enduring many challenges and difficulties along the way. Those who persevere through the challenges are the ones who win the prize.
Many parallels can be drawn between an athletic competition and the race of life. The Bible in the book of Hebrews talks about life as a race. Hebrews chapter 12 tells the believer to, "lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience (perseverance) the race that is set before us." Like an athletic competition, life also has adversities, disappointments, good seasons, and seasons when everything seems to fall apart and our life seems directionless.
To run the race of the Christian life successfully we must have discipline and commitment and a desire to keep putting forth the effort required to win the race. The Christian life takes time, attention and effort. In the Christian life we must devote time and effort if we are to live the Christian life as God wants us to.
To paraphrase the Hebrew writer, "with perseverance let's keep on living the Christian life." The writer of the book of Hebrews is urging us not to give up, do not throw in the towel, do not abandon Christ just because the circumstances of life are difficult, but let's persevere and keep on running the race.
There are three questions that Hebrews chapter 12 raises about running the race. 1) Why should we run the race that is set before us? 2) When should we run the race that is set before us? 3) How should we run the race that is set before us? No doubt each of these Olympic athletes have asked themselves these three important questions also.
The bible tells us that we should run the race and persevere because we have the example of those who were Godly men and women of the Bible who persevered and God honored their faith just as God will also honor our faith as we persevere in the Christian life. The Hebrew writer tells us that the time to persevere in the race of life is after we have first received Jesus as our Savior and have laid aside and rid ourselves of every hindrance, vice, and sin which we know trips us up and hinders our relationship with the Lord. The manner in which we are to run the race and persevere is to look to Jesus, by depending upon Him for help.
The greatest example that we have of one who persevered is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus persevered (continued on a course of action in spite of difficulty) and we too should depend upon Christ to help us persevere because He did the very same thing that you and I need to do-continue on a course of action running the race no matter how difficult it may be.
Jesus is seated on the right hand of God the Father where He appears in Gods presence so that he can obtain Gods help for us in time of need.
When the challenges of life bear down upon us do not give up and quit, but let us keep our eye on the goal and continue to persevere irrespective of the circumstances so that one day we can hear our Savior say, "well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things." (Matthew 25:23)