Worth the Effort
As the Olympic Games wrap up their first week of competition in Tokyo, I am reminded of the effort that it takes just to get there, let alone win a medal. Hours and hours of intense training and grueling workouts have been invested by every athlete during the months leading up to the Games, even though the likelihood of finishing in the top three, much less capturing the Gold, is remote at best.
None of us will ever compete in the Olympics, but we do have a very important race to run. Unlike the Olympians, however, we have the assurance that our spiritual journey will not end in disappointment, but rather in victory, if we follow the guidance of Scripture and abide by God’s instruction.
In I Peter 1:5-10, for example, we are encouraged to “make every effort to add to [our] faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”
Clearly, we have lost sight of this call from God to build up our spiritual endurance by practicing habits of self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and ultimately love for one another. These five simple disciplines would dramatically change the world in which we live because we would be transformed. Instead of road rage, there would be self-control; instead of giving up, there would be perseverance; instead of debauchery, there would be godliness; and instead of hatred there would be love — and with that combination, what a wonderful world it would be.
But it doesn’t end there. The passage goes on to say, “for if [we] possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep [us] from being ineffective and unproductive in [our] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Through an active and genuine commitment to these disciplines, we can truly become Christlike.
Unfortunately, we fail in these areas because, as the passage continues, we have become “nearsighted and blind, forgetting that [we] have been cleansed from [our] past sins.” We are, in fact, new beings in Christ Jesus. “Therefore, [we should] make every effort to confirm [our] calling and election. For if [we] do these things, [we] will never stumble.”
I realize as you read this that your visceral reaction would likely be, “c’mon, that’s impossible; there’s no way anyone could be that obedient,” and in many respects, you’re probably right, but I would suggest that we at least consider giving it a shot. After all, what do we have to lose when compared to all that we have to gain.
Like the Olympians in Tokyo who are willing to invest absolutely everything even though the reality is that only one will finish first, certainly we can all invest a little more in our discipline to the Word of God, and we can all become champions with, in, and for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John