by Pastor Steve Liersch
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Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules (2 Timothy 2:5).
At the time of publishing this devotion, the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games are unfolding in the UK. Thousands of athletes strive to do their best to win the victor’s crown in their respective sports.
I love my sport. I have played lots and watched probably way too much, yet I still find the ability of the athletes and competitors quite extraordinary at times. Bodies in peak shape, minds finely tuned to the rules, and knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents reveal the capacity of our human mind and body to perform at an optimum level.
These words to the young pastor Timothy reflect a common thread of thought by the missionary writer and mentor St Paul. Our journey through this life is like that of an athlete in many ways. Think of us being in a race in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). Not running in vain (Galatians 2:2). And running with perseverance the race marked out for us, as the writer of Hebrews points out (Hebrews 12:1). We hear the good news of Jesus as Lord and Saviour. And as God’s Spirit works in our hearts, we slowly change into the people God can use to share the gospel in some way with those around us.
By God’s grace, we are all winners because we know that the ‘prize’ of our faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour is eternal life in heaven. Our baptism is God’s seal of approval over our lives that he wants to be in a relationship with us for eternity.
What a great motivation to keep on keeping on. Sometimes we don’t like all the rules and training that goes with ‘playing the game’ of life, especially abiding by God’s rules. Loving our families and neighbours – even if they’re not always the nicest. Obeying those in authority – even if we didn’t vote for them. Forgiving as we have been forgiven – even when the pain of their actions hurt so much.
Thanks be to God that he has given us his Holy Spirit to empower us to do what doesn’t come naturally – striving to live a godly life to the glory of our Heavenly Father.
What are some of the God-given abilities you use to serve him with your life? How do you fine-tune them?
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving unique gifts and abilities to those in your family. Help me persevere and use them to honour you and lead others into your kingdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Steve Liersch and his wife are almost empty nesters as their three adult children explore the world with work. They live in the southern coastal suburbs of Perth near Rockingham. Steve enjoys gardening, watching sports – especially Port Power and cricket – playing sudoku and catching up with friends.