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The Spiritual Olympics

We may not be professional athletes, but we’re in a race nonetheless. Ours is of a spiritual nature.

By Grace Fox, Vancouver, British Columbia

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us 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

Olympic athletes train for years with a strict diet and exercise regime. Discipline is critical if they hope to win, so they throw off negative habits or attitudes that might hinder their success. These include eating unhealthy foods, staying up too late at night, becoming overly self-confident and engaging in negative self-talk.

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We may not be professional athletes, but we’re in a race nonetheless. Ours is of a spiritual nature.

We begin when we place our saving faith in Jesus Christ, and we press on until we cross the finish line and meet Him face-to-face. In the interim, we keep our eyes on the One Who is invisible, as Moses did (see Hebrews 11:27). We obey His Word because we believe it’s truth and we want to demonstrate our love for Him by doing what He says.

We also do as athletes do—we throw off anything that hinders us from running our race to win. This includes hindrances such as the fear of inadequacy or of an unknown future, comparison, procrastination, prayerlessness, believing the enemy’s lies that cause us to doubt God and listening to others’ negative voices.

This also includes sins that entangle—unforgiveness, unresolved anger, selfishness, lust, idolatry and pride. These and others weigh us down and prevent us from running well, so shedding them is a must.

Scripture says a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith surrounds us. They cheer us on as we run. Let’s run strong. Let’s run for the prize and finish well.

Faith step: What hindrances are making your faith race difficult? Tell a godly friend, and ask that person to pray with you for the ability to throw them off. Invite him or her to hold you accountable if necessary.