Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In pursuit of the goal

24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV)

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, 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

      Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

I love the Olympics. I love the passion, heart, drive and commitment that each athlete displays in all they do. I love the sweat, blood and tears that cascade down the runner's face as he crosses the finish line, the concentration in the eyes of the gymnast as they are about to take on their final dismount, the swelling pride that turns into a smile as they accept their medals. Each athlete proudly displays and wears their country's colors, showing that they are proud to be who they are, a citizen of that country. All in all for me, the Olympics is a time of pride, passion and pursuit.

Each athlete, no matter the sport, has put in countless hours of intense practice. They have trained their bodies to perform, they have been disciplined in everything they do. They have practiced every aspect of the game and are prepared for "battle". They go into strict training and make their bodies a slave to the purpose they want to accomplish. Their every thought, purpose and drive is focused on pursuing and attaining the goal.  From the very time they wake up, everything they do is done to perform better and become one step closer to that goal.

As Christians we are called to do the same. Our every thought, action, spoken word should all be geared toward one purpose and pursuit... glorifying the Lord. The prize at the end is even better than the earthly gold medal that each winning athlete adorns around their neck. Our prize is eternity with our Creator. A crown of jewels to sit atop our heads. Rejoicing in the light of His presence. Talk about a sense of victory and a time of rejoicing.

We are to be disciplined in growing more like Christ daily. From reading, memorizing and acting on the living Word of God. We train our bodies, minds, hearts and souls to daily live in and for Him.  We wear our colors proudly. When people see us and interact with us do they see we are citizens of a Holy Nation. (1 Peter 2:9) Do they see that we are His chosen people? Are we running daily, training ourselves for the calling that has been placed upon us?

Now you may or may not consider yourself an "athlete" and whatever your athletic ability may be, if you are like me, you still dream of being able to stand atop the box, accept your gold medal and proudly represent your country as your national anthem is played. However, there is a strong chance we will never be able to compete in the Olympic games. That is okay though, because we have an even bigger goal to attain and race to win. We are all called to be contenders in this world of sin and to fight, train and persevere here on earth for the eternal "gold" as we represent our "country" and citizenship as children of the mighty God.  So today I encourage you to train like an Olympic athlete. Be disciplined in all you do, say and think and continue to press on towards the goal. Make your body a slave and go into strict training as you become more like Christ, growing in Him and sharing Him with others around you.

Wear your colors proudly and always look towards the precious goal, Eternity with our Lord. Now thats a gold medal Im excited to have adorned around my neck!

About the Author: Lauren Barksdale is the founder of Soul Fitness. She has a BA and Masters in Kinesiology from Dallas Baptist University . She coached volleyball at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills for the last 5 years. In college she played volleyball for Baylor's club team and at Dallas Baptist University. She has been married to Ben Barksdale for 5 years and has two children; Evie Grace who is 3 and Hudson who is 10 months old. Lauren has a passion for health and fitness and incorporating that into everyday life as a Christ follower

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