The Olympics will captivate us this month. The Olympics were a big deal during the time of the New Testament and they caught the attention of the Apostle Paul. He refers to athletes and competition in a few of his letters and, in one notable passage, mentions two of the sports that were part of the Olympic competition in his day - Running and Boxing. Paul often compared our living the Christian life to the athletes who participated in the ancient Olympic Games.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
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. 25 Everyone 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. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The ancient Olympic Games were the biggest events in the ancient world. Olympian Games began in 776BC and were held every four years. The games started in Olympia, Greece and only men that were free Greeks could compete. All athletes underwent ten months of strict training. They kept a strict diet and discipline of their body. The athletes would deny themselves certain things to gain a certain thing. No aimless running, no aimless boxing.
There is no room for aimlessness in Christian warfare. The enemy of our soul plays dirty and cheats. It is only those who are spiritually in strict training to master faith and put that faith into practice, which will finish the race and be given the reward of eternal life in God’s mercy at the end.
What are you contending for spiritually?
What strict training is needed?