I read on Facebook just now a post that goes something like this, “It’s that time of the year to evaluate life’s priorities again” Upon reading this I asked myself the question, “When is it NOT the right time to evaluate life’s priorities?” People who want to be champions are constantly evaluating their performances. They are always assessing their progress and they are always strengthening their weaknesses. Here’s something anecdotal about champions.
- A champion has the courage to risk failure, knowing that setbacks are lessons to learn from.
- A champion uses an event to gain greater self-knowledge as well as feedback on physical improvement.
- A champion trains their thought processes as well as their body to produce a total approach to performance.
- A champion understands their athletic weaknesses and trains to strengthen them.
- A champion actively creates a life of balance, moderation and simplicity – values that help improve running and life.
- A champion views competitors as partners who provide challenge and the chance to improve.
- A champion understands performances are like a roller coaster, with many ups and downs, and that you have to accept both the good and the bad.
- A champion enjoys sport for the simple pleasures it provides.
- A champion has vision. A champion dreams of things that haven’t been and believes they are possible. A champion says “I can.” (http://www.wayofchampions.com/articles-by-jerry-lynch/what-makes-a-champion.html)
The apostle says this resoundingly in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
As I read these words of Paul I do not see anything else but a man who is potentially a champion, and he was! According to Paul a potential champion has a few marks. There’s a few things that characterizes a champion.
- He or she does not spectate, they are participants IN the race. To be a champion is NOT to be a cheerleader! “All runners run!”
- He or she runs to get the prize. The race must be a meaningful event. The race should not be thought of and approached as drudgery. “Run in such a way as to get the prize.” The race has rules. Follow the rules and you’ll be on you way to being a champion.
- He or she is disciplined. You would be foolish to think you can participate in a race if you have not trained adequately for it. “Everyone who competed goes into strict training” Why do so many people fall apart during the Comrades Marathon? Thy fall apart because they did not have adequate training.
- He or she prioritizes for lasting change. The runners in Corinth would participate in a race for a crown that they would receive today and would wither away in a few weeks time. The prize had a “shelf life”. Paul is saying that in contrast to that we should participate in a race where the prize has no shelf life. When people come into our homes they must see the prize in the good behavior of our children. They must see the prize in our own moral standard. They must see the prize as they look at the lost people we won for Christ. All these prizes have NO shelf life. These are the kinds of prizes we should be striving to win.
In a few days you too will be evaluating a year that has gone by and in doing so you will make new plans to implement new changes. This is good but will they last? They will last only if we listen to Paul – listen to the Bible. You’re meant to be a champion, so why do you choose to live like a loser. Rise up and become a champion!