The Olympic Games begin in just two days. Like many of you I will be watching and enjoying this quadrennial sporting event. We’ll be glued to the tube, not only because there are few other good TV options, but also because there is something about the Olympic spirit that also touches our spirits. Watching the world’s top athletes at the top of their form encourages each one of us to be “the best me I can be.” This year, instead of just dreaming about your physical potential, consider these 4 spiritual questions as well.
How is my team participation? My favorite Olympic events are the ones that are played together. No matter how great the individual effort, the team depends on the ability of the individuals to play well together. God did not intend for us to live individual spiritual lives either. He gave us the church not only so that we might worship together, but also that we might do life together! The Bible describes the church as a body: “Together you form the body of Christ and each one of you is a necessary part of it.” Ask yourself: “Am I living my spiritual life as part of God’s team - with others?”
How is my spiritual discipline? The one wholly remarkable aspect about every Olympic athlete is how completely disciplined each one is about their event. No aspect of their training - exercise, diet, attitude - is too small to consider. These people are disciplined. Seriously! Did you know that God has that same intention for us spiritually? In fact God’s Word even puts our spiritual journey into Olympic terms: “Do 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.” Ask yourself: “When it comes to my spiritual life, am I just out wandering around? Or am I running to win the prize?”
How is my coach-ability? The Olympics’ spotlight is always on the athletes. Behind every great athlete, however, is a great coach. That athlete would not be performing at such a high calibre if he or she wasn’t also teachable. When it comes to our spiritual lives, we also must be willing to learn from others. This demands openness and humility. Ask yourself: “Am I willing to consider the advice of others?” The Wisdom Book puts it bluntly. “Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice.”
How is my confidence? Every four years we see the same story repeated. This athlete has confidence and as a result he or she “stuck it!” That athlete lacked confidence and didn’t perform as well. What is the secret of confidence? You might be surprised to learn that confidence really means “with faith” or “with trust.” We often pair the word, self, with confidence. Such self-confidence works for awhile, when life is full of medal finishes. Each of us, however, will have those days, weeks, and even years, when we fall off the balance beam of life. Where is my confidence then?
The Good Book is named this way because it is filled with God’s promises. Here’s one of the best! “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” When it comes to spiritual performance - especially in those most uncertain moments of life - Christ followers may rest in the confidence of God’s ability to perform perfectly. He will help us cross that finish line to win a medal that will never fade or tarnish.