Tag Archives: Olympics

Practice Makes Perfect

Dad installed a chinup bar in a doorway and used it everyday.  He challenged me to a contest when I was visiting.  I was amazed at his stamina but still beat him – hey, I was 30 years younger.  But now, at the age he was, there’s no way I could measure up to what he did then.  Unless I practiced.  The training regimen of olympic athletes is scary intense.  They punish themselves with every greater challenges til they know they can push through them.

In a similar way, we are encouraged to accept the various trials of life as opportunities to train our faith and develop our capacity to patiently push through.  

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  (James 1:2-4)

To test a diving board, you jump on it, tentatively at first but then with greater and greater force.  If you can’t break it then you know it will hold you.  You trust it  Same thing with faith; you jump on it to know if it will hold.  You test faith with trials.  As you learn your faith will hold, you become more able to endure life’s trials with steadfastness.  You become “perfect and complete,” in the sense that you are “good to go” in the faith department.  The faith is not in your own toughness but in Jesus’ ability to hold you safe, no matter what.  Like this:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:38-39)

Eager for Beauty

When the Olympics begin, make a point of watching the faces and body posture of the athletes who are waiting for their chance to compete.  When a beautiful dive has been executed, you can see admiration on their faces, but, more than that, determination to do better.  When a record has been broken, the runners waiting want to break it better.  They are eager for the chance.

Jesus came, according to Paul’s letter to Titus, and:

14 …”gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”   (Titus 2:14b)

The word translated, good, literally means “beautiful.”  When people have been “redeemed from all wickedness,” the things they are eager to do are truly beautiful.  Not just inoffensive, or plain vanilla, but strikingly beautiful!  You know the video on the ‘net of the basketball team who rallied around the boy with special needs and gave him a chance to score the winning basket?  That kind of beauty.  The kind that is seen through a tear of inspiration.

Craftsmen are eager to “do what is beautiful.”  They are not content with ordinary.  They want people to experience an uplifting thrill.  Jesus had it in mind for His people to be craftsmen of beautiful things.  I wish Christian films “out-Spielberged” Spielberg instead of putting up with simplistic plots and mediocre acting.  I wish Christian music transported people to new heights.  I wish everything done to honor Jesus’ great love and grace would be known for astonishing beauty.

According to Paul, so does Jesus…