The Olympics began this week in Athens. This type of game has been part of the world for centuries.

1 Tim. 4:7-8. The benefits for this life are great, but the benefits of focusing on the development of our Spiritual life are greater.
1 Cor. 9:24-27. Paul refers to the 4 great athletic events of his time.

The Participation
We are not observers.
Gal. 5:7. Paul says, “You were running well.” “Who turned you?” The ancient games were known for wildness and ignoring the rules. It was not unusual for people to make other participants stumble.
Heb. 12:1-3. Others are watching and cheering them on. Be victorious by focusing and using the home field advantage. May we see ourselves as in action in our Christian life.

The Effort
Really put out the effort and stay focused to be victorious in our Christian life.
Phil. 3:12-14. Paul pressed on and reached for the goal. We are saved by Christ’s efforts but we must push to be fully the people God wants us to be.
Acts 20:22-24 Paul wanted to finish the work God had laid out for him. It was worth the struggles to do what he was called to do.

The Victory
The wiliness to continue on the path God has called us to will give us the victory.
There may be difficulties and failures, but we should not give up.
Gal. 2:2. The fruit of saved souls was so important to Paul.
Phil. 2:14-16. This is a call to be faithful our whole lives so that we can gain the victory. Paul asked these Christians to hold to the end so that Paul could have a victory through them.
2 Tim. 2:5. Follow the rules set out for the race to gain the victory. God is steadfast and wants us to gain the prize. God is on our side.

The Prize
The Olympians competed for a wreath. We are striving for an imperishable prize.
Phil.4:1 (1 Thess.2:19-20). We experience relationship as the prize.
2 Tim. 4:6-8. The effort will result in the crown. The wreath of righteousness was given to Paul by the sacrifice of Jesus.
James 1:12. The crown of life is for those who are faithful to God.
1 Peter 5:4. The crown is unfading and is filled with life and relationship with God.

—Robert Lee, 8-15-04 p.m

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