A Champion In The Making…
How we all love a champion! You just have to watch the Winter Olympics currently being televised from Pyeongchang, South Korea, to be filled with wonder and admiration for the participants’ skill and ability. They make their awesome manoeuvres look easy, but most of these athletes have been training for years to get to their peak of fitness for these games. Some are facing challenges they’d never have expected, like injuries, dramatic temperature drops and drastic changes in weather conditions.
These world class sportsmen and women will soon be returning home filled with the pride of knowing they have taken part in one of the top events in their field. Even if they fail to win a gold, silver or bronze medal, most of them will be applauded by their families, friends and neighbours for having done their best. But they would never have had been able to compete in the games at all, if they did not risen to the challenge in the first place to become a champion. Each had to fight their own fears, have a vision, be self-disciplined, have a coach, supporters, and determination to succeed and focus on winning the prize.
The Bible is full of references to the Christian life being like a running a race or a marathon and we are encouraged to run it with all of our might and never give up like today’s athletes. Revelations is full of references to the prizes you can gain if you “overcome”.
Here are 7 ways to stay on track to become a champion:
1 Don’t be afraid
Some of us may find ourselves feeling too scared to even make it to the starting blocks, never mind be gold medal winners but throughout His word God guides us on how to be a champion. He tells us to “fear not” and that He is “with” us. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
2 Have a vision
Now, more than ever, it is time to seek your vision and gain a desire to follow the plan that God has for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Whether you are a young mother at home bringing up a family, a teenager wondering whether to continue your studies or an entrepreneur wondering whether to start a new business, rest assured that God is with you to help you fulfil your vision and is helping you through all of the trials that life might throw at you.
3 Have self-discipline
Once you have your vision, you have to be disciplined and work towards what you want to achieve. The Olympians on TV have spent hours perfecting their skills and we must train to fulfil our destinies too. It might mean a bit of self-control and reading your Bible or praying instead of watching that soap opera on TV, or going to church instead of doing sports on a Sunday, but whatever your personal challenge is, you need to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1.
4 Find yourself a great coach
Jesus is our ultimate coach, but we should find mature Christians to mentor us in our daily Christian life. All of the best sports people have great coaches and the Bible says that “everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Like 6:40b)
5 Ask others for help when you need it
If you are struggling, don’t forget that you can ask others for help. We are meant to encourage and support each other as Galatians 6:2 says “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.”
6 Have the determination to succeed
Deciding to become a world-class athlete is not easy, you will have to adopt a good mind-set, be determined to succeed and trust in the Lord to help you when your own strength and resilience are failing. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:33)
7 Focus on winning the prize
If you have everything else under control, focussing on the finishing line should be easier. As Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Ready, get set, go!