“Let us persevere until the end” – Seeds of Faith – July 26, 2021

The Olympics 2020 is now underway in Tokyo, Japan. It was canceled last year due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19. But the Olympic spirit did not die. Against all odds, it has began with 193 official countries that joined.
In the Bible, we can see that Paul used sports metaphors as an illustration. The Romans, who occupied Israel during the New Testament times, constructed stadiums and sports arenas in Israel. This is the reason why Paul and New Testament world are familiar with sports. Corinth, for example, was the host of the Isthmian Games, and that was one primary reason why Paul used sports terms to Corinthian Christians.
What can we learn from the sports metaphors used by Paul?
First, Christians must be disciplined in the ways of Christ.
Discipline and disciple are two words that you cannot break apart. Discipline can either be a noun or a verb. The noun means “a branch of knowledge” while the verb means “to train someone to obey the rules or a code of behavior.”
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-26, Paul wrote “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 someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.”
So, being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we should follow the discipline of Jesus as stated in His commands, and must be disciplined to follow it daily.
Second, Christians must persevere until the end.
In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul wrote “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Paul used boxing and running in this verse. These two sports, as indeed other sports as well, need perseverance.
The situations all around us may caus us to falter and lose sight. We need to refocus every day, and look towards finishing the race.
Jesus was just 33 years old when He died and resurrected. Did He finish the race? Yes, we can truly say that He indeed finished the race.
What about us? Do you know what race you are running? Do you discipline yourself to persevere no matter what the circumstances are? Are you committed to finish it?
As you watch the Olympics nowadays, let us read the verses in which Paul used sports metaphors, and reflect on it.
May God bless us all!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Director, Office of Communications
Central Philippine University
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