I’m sure many of us here, at one time or another have watched the Olympics on Television. Some of us know who Katrina La-maydion is, but for those who may not know, she is one of Canada’s Gold Medal winners so far in the of year 2002 winter Olympics. Katrina won the gold medel, in the 500 Meter speed skating.
Just allow me to recall that race for a moment, maybe some of you can remember watching it. All these ladies who have been training vigorously for this very moment, were finally standing at the starting line, two skaters at a time trying to beat the clock and get the fastest time. You could see the look of determination on their faces, as they set their focus on the finish line just 500 meters away. I can remember the look on Katrina’s face, as she bent down into starting position, waiting for the signal to go. Her eyes were focused ahead, her muscles were all tensed, ready to press forward.
This evening I want to talk about “Gold Medal Living”, and through out this message we will be looking at 5 ESSENTIALS FOR GOLD MEDAL LIVING.
As we have briefly looked at these speed skaters in the Olympics, we realize and we can appreciate that when they reach the Olympics, they don’t just reach the finals, and are satisfied to stop there. They aren’t satisfied to finish there, they want to go on to better things.
The first essential to Gold Medal Living is Dissatisfaction.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
A Christian should never be satisfied with were he or she is at the present time, as Christians we should always be striving to be better, to be Holier, to win the race. Paul says that it is his goal to know Christ and to be like Christ. We should not let anything take our eyes of Christ, off our goal, we should never be content to stay where we are in our Spiritual walk, we need to strive to be better, no matter how far we are, there is always room for improvement. Therefore, dissatisfaction is an essential for Gold Medal Living. (Dissatisfaction that is in the sense of wanting to be all that Christ wants us to be.) Just as it is with athletes such as Katrina La-maydion, she was not satisfied with just being in the race, she was not satisfied to stay at the level where she was, she pressed on toward her goal. We as Christians ought to have that type of dissatisfaction, wanting to press on toward our goal, and just as Katrina La-maydion was rewarded at the end of her race, we too as Christians will be greatly rewarded in heaven. If these athletes can work so hard, for earthly rewards, how much more should we as Christians work, toward our heavenly reward.
There is a quote that says, “A ship in a harbour is safe but that is not what ships were built for.” We can apply that to our lives as Christians.
The second essential to Gold Medal Living is,
Again as we look at the life of an athlete, we can clearly see that they have to be devoted to their training. They have to be devoted, to remain in top condition, to be able to press on toward their goal. These athletes have to be very devoted to what they have set out to accomplish, that is, to be the best that they can be.
With such single mindedness of an athlete in training, we must lay aside everything harmful, and forsake anything that may distract us from becoming effective Christians. We need to be devoted to what we are doing. This type of devotion demands love. Matthew 22:37 says “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”.
So far we have looked at two essentials for Gold Medal Living. Dissatisfaction and Devotion, the next essential for Gold Medal Living is,
When an athlete is at the starting line, all of her energy, and focus is in the direction that leads to the end of the track. When an athlete is running down the track, she don’t look back. If she turned to look back it would hinder her, it would cause her to slow down, and maybe even cause her to cross over in the way of another skater, and maybe even cause her to go of course.
The second part of Phil chapter 3 verse 13 says, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.
You can’t score if you don’t know where the goal is!.
When we talk about forgetting what is behind and putting our focus on what lies ahead of us. The story of Lot and his wife comes to mind (Found in Genesis 19:26), God told them to run away from Sodom & not to look back, but what happened to lots wife when she looked back, she turned into a pillar of salt. Lots wife was looking back clinging to the past, she was unwilling to turn completely away, she wanted to look back to what she was leaving. Are we like Lots wife this morning, are we looking back longingly at sin while trying to more forward with God? We can’t make any progress with God as long as we are holding on to pieces of our old way of life.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus said it this way, “No one can serve two masters.” When we make a decision to follow Christ, When we turn our lives around from a life of sin to a life of dedication to Christ, we need to look in the right direction. We need to maintain a focus which is set on the goal which lies ahead, on the goal which we have set out to follow and achieve, and that goal is to live a holy life, that goal is to live a life that would make us more like Jesus, that goal is to receive the reward of eternal life in heaven with our Lord and master. And to achieve that goal, as we can see, direction is an essential.
So far we have seen three essentials for Gold Medal Living, the first was Dissatisfaction, the second was devotion, and the third was direction.
The fourth essential for Gold Medal Living that I want to talk about is, “Determination.”
In the text we see that the first part of verse 14 says, “I Press On… (3:14a) To press on takes determination, there are obstacles in our way sometimes, but this verse say’s “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
(1 Timothy 4:7-8) says “…Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has promise for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
As I have talked about Katrina La-maydion, the Canadian Olympic Champion, I am sure we can all appreciate and understand the determination that it takes for such athletes to train themselves to be in such physical condition, they train themselves to be ready for the race, they are determined to try their very best, they give it their 100%.
Maybe you’ve seen a Speed Skater set to begin a race. Have you every noticed the look on their faces. As they are ready to skate the most important race of their lives, they have a look of determination on their faces, they have made it this far and there is no turning back, they are determined to give it their best shot. There is a chorus that we sometimes sing, and it fits right in with what we are talking about this morning, “I am determined to hold on to the end, Jesus is with me, on him I can depend. I know I have salvation, I feel it in my soul, I am determined to hold on to the end.” Oh as Christians may that be our pray and determination this morning, and for those out side of Christ It is our prayer that, that will be your determination as will before to long.
You know most of us have done things in our past, which we are ashamed of, and we live in between what we have been and what we want to be. However, because our hope is in Christ, we can let go of past guilt, and move on with determination to what God will help us become, then we can forget about the past, and move on to a life of faith and obedience, we need to look forward to a more fuller and more meaningful life because of our hope in Christ, and don’t forget, “your to near the crown too lay down the cross, Don’t give up the race you run will soon be o’er. Your too near the crown to lay down the cross, just hold on it won’t be long and you’ll be home.”
In the Olympics only one person can be called the winner of the race, but as Christians there can be many winners, and all Christians may receive a reward. Furthermore the rewards of the Olympics will eventually fade away, but the crown Christ gives will never fade. The important thing is that we reach the goal that Christ as set for us. No matter how successful we may be in the eyes of man, we cannot be rewarded unless we “take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of us.”
So far we have seen four essentials for Gold medal living, dissatisfaction, devotion, direction, and determination.
There is a planned extermination for the children of God. The only way to prevent becoming a fatality is to live as a Gold metalist. The fifth and final essential for gold Medal Living is Discipline.
In our text, Phil 3:16 it says, “..let us live up to what we have already attained.” It is not enough to run hard and win the race; the runner must also obey the rules. I remember watching a race one time, and one of the runners were disqualified for breaking the rules, he caused two false starts by beginning to run before he was suppose to. He was not disciplined enough, to go by the rules, therefore, he could not go on. 2 Timothy 2:5 tells us that, “If anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.” The issue is not what the athlete thinks, or what the spectators think, but it’s what the judge says. The Bible tells us in Roman 14:10-12. “…We will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written; “‘as surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God’” The Greek word used here in this text for “Judgment Seat” is Bema, the very same word used to describe the place where the Olympic Judges give out their rewards. If we have disciplined ourselves to obey the rules, to remain a Christian, we shall receive a reward.
Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us 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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
In a few moments we are going to sing the chorus, “your to near the crown too lay down the cross.” But before we do, I want each one of us to examine our lives. And ask our selves this question, “where am I in the race? Maybe there are some here this morning and you are at the starting line, or maybe you have already started the race, or maybe there are some here this morning and you are still in the stands watching. You no where you are, God knows where you are.
As you examine your life, and your place in the race as a Christian, the alter is open, maybe you want to pray for strength, that God will give you these five essentials for Gold Medal Living. Come this morning as we sing the chorus. “Your to near the crown too lay down the cross.
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