Scripture: Matthew 25:1-13; Luke 16:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; Hebrews 11.
Have you found yourself watching the Olympics and thinking, “I wish I was a great athlete!”
What does it take to be an Olympian? Some say it’s genetics. Others say it’s hard work. Regardless, there is one attribute every athlete that dreams of a medal has: faithfulness. Faithfulness in training, eating, sleeping, drinking, attitude and vision. And although you may never compete for your country, according to author Paige Waehner, you can at least train like those who do. Here are suggestions from her article, “Train Like an Olympian.”1
1. Train every day. Don’t play hooky all week and then hit the gym or track on weekends only. This sets you up for injury, soreness and discouragement. Instead, train every day like the Olympic athletes who are working towards competing against the very best in the world. Regular exercise will help you develop endurance and strength that will carry over into your everyday life, too.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize. Olympic athletes have a specific goal: to compete and win a medal. Set your own goal. Keep it specific, simple and, most importantly, reachable. Continually remind yourself of your goal and how you plan to achieve it.
3. Be specific in your training. Make sure your training fits your goal. For instance, an Olympic marathon runner must focus on strength and endurance. To get ready for the race he or she will have to train specifically in areas of long runs, speed and strength.
4. Fuel your body for peak performance. An Olympian is concerned about getting the right nutrients and calories. Instead of looking at food as your enemy (whether you’re eating too many calories or too much fat) ask yourself, “Is this the best food for my body right now?” and “What will put my body at its very best?
5. Know when to rest. Olympians know that there’s a fine line between peak performance and burnout. They are knowledgeable enough to know when they need to take a few recovery days. An overtrained athlete can mean the difference between winning and losing. Know the signs of overtraining and when to take a break. It won’t set you behind—rather it will set you ahead toward your goal.
6. Have perfect form. Whatever your exercise—walking, running, swimming, biking, skiing, lifting weights—make certain your form is perfect. This requires total focus on what you’re doing and how you’re moving.
It takes faithfulness to be in good physical condition. And it takes faithfulness to be in good spiritual condition, too. If you look at the suggestions for training like an Olympian, you see that they also work for our spiritual training:
1. Train every day—study God’s word and talk with God throughout your day.
2. Keep your eyes on the prize—take your eyes off this earth. Your prize is Heaven.
3. Be specific in your training—know your weaknesses and where temptations hit you and become strong in those areas
4. Fuel your body for peak performance—study, prayer, church, small group Bible study, uplifting music and Christian friends can be your power source.
5. Know when to rest—the Sabbath was made for you for the very purpose of setting aside all the cares of the week and worshiping your Creator.
6. Have perfect form—by looking, acting and speaking like a Christian.
The fruit of the spirit is faithfulness because faithfulness is endurance. And “he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22).