There is so much I love about the Olympics. I love seeing the best of the best perform and do what seems to be the impossible. I greatly enjoy seeing the fastest, strongest, most elegant, most agile, and the greatest in all the world show what can be accomplished. It is the beauty of pushing God-given talent to its maximum, even against all odds, and achieving the gold. I love the intensity of competition with the thrill of victory and even the agony of defeat (those of you who are old enough remember those words from the TV series “The Wide World of Sports”).
I also enjoy the international flavor of the Olympics as all nations come together in unity of sport and competition, where culture is celebrated and national pride is elevated. It is fun to, yes, root for your country, but also the country of your heritage or the country of a friend or even those countries where, in the opening ceremonies, only one or two athletes are representing their people. The Olympics brings the world together and we see people for people, seeing all humanity as the created beings God loves just as much as you and me. All through the Bible God points to “all nations,” “all peoples.” His love, blessing, care, and call to seek Him is not for certain peoples, it’s for every tribe and language and people and nation…everyone in the world.
John 3:16-17 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Psalm 96:9-10 9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! 10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.”
Well, another element of the Olympics that will glue me to theTV will be those great stories of athletes who were not blessed with all the opportunity of affluence, yet with that determined attitude of sacrifice, hard work, self-control, and grit set out to be the best in the world. I love that Olympic attitude. Like the team of refugee survivors who have fled wars, kidnappings, persecution, and famine to compete, having no home or flag or national anthem to play if they receive a medal. These and others took the risk of doing what it takes to achieve their goals and some even to give honor and glory to God. Eric Liddell, a Scottish athlete in the 1924 Olympic Games said this, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast! And when I run I feel His pleasure. And when I win I bring Him honor.”
As I think about this amazing Olympic attitude, I wonder how different our lives would be if we applied it to our marriages, friendships, work, school, sure our recreation and sport, maybe our health or character, and our own relationship with God? Actually, God has given us that challenge from the Bible:
2 Peter 1:5-8 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The words “make every effort” can also be translated “at your own risk.” It is this idea, as we seek to grow in faith and live, we take the risk/put on that Olympic attitude and strive to be pure, know more about God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, be self-controlled, persevere, seek to take on the character of Christ, and loving people. I wonder how many marriages would be saved, how many relationships would be salvaged, how many great carriers would be forged, how many helpful ideas would be fostered, how many lives would be changed if more and more people took up an Olympic attitude for life. I’m inspired. How about you??
Church can be a great place to get inspired. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove this week. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net .
Our world needs you to step up, strap on that Olympic attitude and go for it. Will you?
Seeking to engage that Olympic attitude along with you,