|HAVE FAITH LIKE AN ATHLETE! |
And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5
Lots of people are willing to play games; far fewer people are willing to be athletes. A real athlete of any sport understands there are two sets of rules to be followed: rules of preparation and rules of participation. Experience can’t overcome lack of preparation. A marathoner who hasn’t prepared rigorously will fail disastrously. Extensive preparation becomes meaningless if an athlete doesn’t understand or play by the rules. Few sights are more disappointing than a superbly trained athlete who breaks the rules through carelessness or dishonesty.
When the apostle Paul was passing on the baton of responsibility for the gospel to his apprentice Timothy, he had a number of helpful insights to leave with the young man. He used various familiar life-pursuits to illustrate aspects of Timothy’s duties. Paul knew that athletes often present the kind of commitment that living by faith requires.
So, how do the two sets of rules mentioned above function in the area of faith? How should we be faith-athletes? The rules of preparation remind us that faith is more than a belief-muscle we build up. Faith requires an object and content. The follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t believe in faith; he believes in Jesus Christ. His faith (what he believes about Jesus Christ) continually grows as he seeks to know Christ better and better. We exercise faith when we study Gods Word and train ourselves to apply what we discover in it. An athlete trains continuously. Practice may not make perfect, but it usually leads to marked improvement!
The rules of participation point to our connection with others and with God out in the open. Eventually we have to get in the game. Stepping across the boundary and onto the track or the field of play always involves a sudden change of perspective. Studying and knowing how to talk to someone about your faith in Christ differs a lot from the thrill and terror of actually talking to someone about Christ. How will you practice and participate in faith today?
BY THE NEW LIVING TRANSLATION BIBLE!
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