The Athlete of Jesus
2 Timothy 2:5
Paul says that the athlete does not win the crown of victory unless he observes the rules of the contest. There is a very interesting point in the Greek here which is difficult to bring out in translation. The Authorized Version speaks of striving lawfully. The Greek is athlein nomimos. In fact, that Greek phrase was used by the later writers to describe a professional as opposed to an amateur athlete. The man who strove nomimos was the man who concentrated everything on his struggle. His struggle was not just a spare-time thing, as it might be for an amateur; it was a whole-time dedication of his life to excellence in the contest that he has chosen. Here, then, we have the same idea as in Paul's picture of the Christian as a soldier. A Christian must concentrate on his Christianity just as a professional athlete's life is concentrated upon his chosen contest. The spare-time Christian is a contradiction in terms; a man's whole life should be an endeavor to live out his Christianity. What then are the characteristics of the athlete that are in Paul's mind?
An athlete is a person under discipline and self-denial. He must keep to the schedule of training and let nothing interfere with it. The athlete who would excel knows that he must let nothing interfere with that standard of physical fitness that he has set for himself.
(1st) There must be discipline in the Christian life. The Christian must train himself never to relax in the life-long attempt to make his soul pure and strong.
(2nd) An athlete is a person who observes the rules. After the discipline and the rules of training, there comes the contest and the rules of the contest. The athlete cannot win unless he plays the game. The Christian, too, is often brought into contest with his fellow-believers. He must defend his faith; he must seek to convince and to persuade; he will have to argue. He must do so by the Christian rules. There is often no bitterness like religious bitterness. The real Christian knows that the supreme rule of the Christian life is love, and he will carry that love into every debate in which he is engaged.
Follow the rules in everything you do so that those who are watching will see Jesus. There are many ways to be a winner. Hallelujah!
"Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty!" Dear Father, what a privilege it is to be Your child. I know that my steps are ordered of the Lord. There isn't anyone or anything that can stop what You are doing, whether it is healing the sick or Your peace entering into a confusing situation. There is nothing that You cannot do. Hallelujah! Amen!