I really enjoyed watching the Olympics the last couple of weeks. It's always exciting to see people overcoming obstacles, working hard, and finally achieving their goal of winning a medal. I guess we all think there's something special about champions.
At the same time, I honestly cannot imagine devoting my life to a sport. Some of those athletes train up to 10 hours a day, every day, for years. They sacrifice all kinds of things in order to become the best at what they do. I can admire that kind of dedication, but it saddens me somewhat that it's all in pursuit of a sport.
Yet, most of those athletes put the rest of us to shame. They have a greater love and passion for something inanimate and irrelevant in view of eternity, than we often have for our awesome God.
I've been thinking about what it is exactly that makes them champions. I think the answer is that they in essence lay down their will daily. They die to their lesser desires in order to pursue their greatest desire. That is what enables them to work longer and concentrate harder than other people who give in to those lesser desires for relaxation, more sleep, unhealthy foods, etc.
Many times I've thought that I'd like to have the heart of a champion. But I just don't have the kind of drive and ambition for anything on this earth that it takes to be the best at something. However, after seeing things in this new light, I think God also wants me to have a champion's heart. He wants me to daily lay down my will to Him, dying to my own self-centered desires, and to have a greater love and passion for HIM than for anything else.
That's not something I can somehow "work up" on my own. It's something God has to work in me. Remember what Paul said in Romans 8:37? He said we are "more than conquerors" - how? "through HIM who loved us."
Through our own efforts or hard work, we still cannot be overcomers or conquerors. But through JESUS living in us, empowering us, I believe we can all be great Champions!