Anyone else watch the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics? I did, and it was spectacular! Ahhh! Watching the athletes walk in with emotion written all over their faces, some with great big smiles spread wide, others stern and focused eyes filled with intensity, while others overtaken in the moment with glassy eyes had tears of pride trickling down their cheeks….it was enough to give spectators goosebumps! They all worked hard to be world class athletes, they made it to the top, and were basking in their moment. Well deserved, what joy they must have felt taking it all in.
As I sat there watching as the athletes were welcomed into the stadium – crowd roaring, I couldn’t help but let my mind wander and as it did, It settled on Matthew 25:21
His Lord said unto him; well done thou good and faithful servant.
These athletes have worked hard…they have been faithful to their sport…a job well done- so, what does this have to do with Matthew 25:21? Is faith a competition? No, it isn’t at all, but it takes discipline, perseverance, strength, and focus, exactly the same mix that it took each athlete to make it to the Olympics.
Hebrews 12 1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame,and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Reading this verse paints a picture of an arena in my mind. I see angels lining the stadium cheering us on as we run the race of life. I imagine the obstacles of life we encounter, and the sound of encouraging cheers exploding from the stands. On the other side I see temptation calling and persuading us to give in, give up, we’ll never make it, its too hard, and through the pain and temptation I imagine eyes focused on the finish line where our Lord and Savior stands and we are reminded of his sacrifice, the pain and agony he endured, and the perseverance that carried him through it all. I imagine him standing there with his arms open wide waiting to recieve each and everyone of us that choose to hold on and persevere to the end.
Just like the athletes participating in the Olympic games trained to get where they are, we must do the same in our relationships with our heavenly father, we must pray, read, seek, focus, and be dedicated.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Our relationship with God is the same as any other relationship in our life. It takes work.
No, You don’t have to work to earn God’s grace and mercy, I am not saying that at all…what I am talking about is our relationship with him, and how bad we really want to know him.
Just like an athlete dedicates their life to training for a sport, there is so much to God that a person could live their entire lifetime studying his word and never cease to learn something new. It is like the story of Elisha and the Widow. Elisha requested a widow to bring him a drink of water and bread. The widow told Elisha she only had enough flour and oil to make bread for her and her sons, then it would be gone and they would die-they had no more. Hearing her words, Elisha instructed her to make the bread. The woman honored his request and to her astonishment- the flour and oil did not run out. The woman and her sons lived! It is the same thing when we seek God, his word is like the flour and the oil, through our obedience, it keeps producing and multiplying in our lives. It trains us, it strengthens us, brings focus, and teaches us perseverance so we can continue on the path the lays before us.
Proverbs 3:6 says
Seek his will in all you do and he will show you the path to take
Psalm 139 23-24
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
These words tell us that by seeking God’s will, he will show us the path to take, transparency before him allows him to lead us in his way, and by seeking and following, and persevering, we have the ability to keep the faith, finish the course, and hear those precious words, ‘Well done!’
He lays this all out for us in his word, and the decision to listen and follow…he leaves that decision to us…I wonder today, how far do you desire to go in him? How much of God do you want?
I don’t know about you, but I want every bit of him I can possibly have, I don’t want to settle for mediocrity, I want to know my heavenly father better than I know my earthly father. How about you, how much of God do you want?
God – your word reminds us that No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening. You acknowledge its pain. But assure us that afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Help us to press on, through the pain of discipline in the hope and assurance that one day, we will hear those precious words, ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ Give us the strength to trust you and seek you diligently.
In the powerful name of Jesus Christ!
Join me today…Choose him…